University to appeal Shinfield housing decisionBy Victoria Smith
June 25, 2012
The borough is facing another legal battle with The University of Reading after it appealed a decision to throw out plans for 126 homes in Shinfield.
The university has already lodged an appeal against Wokingham Borough Council’s decision, which was made by the planning committee last month amid fears the proposed homes were too dense for the Manor in Church Lane.
The council is waiting for a decision from the planning inspectorate on another planning appeal from the university over land south of the M4, where the two bodies have clashed over blueprints for a 3,500-home mini-town.
The university originally submitted an outline planning application for 126 homes at the Manor in January 2011.
The scheme had proposed to replace disused buildings with housing, while also providing areas of open space, sports pitches, children’s play areas and allotments.
Councillors on the planning committee voted to reject the application, by a margin of five to four, on the basis that the proposals exceed the threshold of dwellings that are generally appropriate within what is currently classified a “modest development location”.
The decision went against the advice of council planning officers, who had recommended that councillors approve the application.
Ian Tant, from the university’s planning consultants Barton Willmore, said: “The University of Reading has been working alongside Wokingham Borough Council officers on this planning application for well over a year and taken special care to ensure that the details of the application met all of the council’s requirements.
“The council’s objection can be no more than a temporary issue: we see no benefit in holding up what everyone agrees is a much-needed redevelopment of this brownfield site.
“We are surprised and disappointed that the committee voted to reject the application as this has left the University with no realistic option but to appeal the decision.”