Bid for 274 homes at Kentwood Farm turned down againBy Lewis Rudd
September 30, 2011
A developer's second attempt at winning support for a 274-home proposal for land north of Wokingham town has failed.
The planning committee at Wokingham Borough Council last week voted in favour of refusing an application put forward by Crest Nicholson proposing the development on land at Kentwood Farm in Warren House Lane.
This is despite the council supporting development of new housing at the site in principle as part of plans to meet building targets by 2026.
The 274 homes would have been the first phase in a 1,500-home mini-town.
A formal decision on the application now lies in the hands of an independent Government planning inspector, as the applicant has appealed the decision.
This, along with a similar application put forward by Crest Nicholson last year proposing 357 new homes – which was also refused – will be jointly heard at the same appeal.
The north Wokingham site is one of four areas across the borough earmarked by the borough council to take thousands of new homes by 2026.
The council has criticised Crest Nicholson’s plans for being piecemeal and premature, failing to meet high standards of design and a lack affordable housing.
It has produced 18 reasons for refusing the blueprints.
Planning bosses are also unhappy with the applicant for only lodging plans to build part of the required infrastructure for the site.
One of the key concerns of local residents has been whether roads can cope with the extra cars new housing will generate.
Residents groups have said they would like to see new roads in place before any new home is built.
The developer, however, has argued the blueprints conform with the council’s Core Strategy document, which details the characteristics of the type of housing and infrastructure required within a mini-town.
Speaking at the meeting, Charles Collins, from Savills, which is representing Crest Nicholson, accused the council of being “objective, rather than subjective” with its reasons for wanting the application refused.
“Failure to achieve a positive recommendation is disappointing and it can be argued the deemed reasons for refusal are not just detrimental to my client but to this council,” he said.
“To have 18 deemed reasons for refusal is frankly disproportionate. [Crest Nicholson] has significantly reduced the number of dwellings and addressed the noise issues.”
Mr Collins went on to accuse the authority of not having the five-year land supply to meet the required number of homes the borough must build in the next few years.
Councillor Simon Weeks, chairman of the committee, hit back by saying: “This borough has more than 1,900 houses with planning permission which have not yet been built.
“That is considerably more than the five year land supply.”
An appeal for both applications is proposed for Tuesday, November 29, at the council’s Shute End offices.