Planning bosses criticise Secretary of State over Shinfield homes decisionBy Laura Herbert
November 22, 2012
Planning bosses are disappointed a Secretary of State ignored neighbours when granting appeals for Reading University to build 1,350 homes, a primary school and supermarket in Shinfield.
The University of Reading had appealed to the Planning Inspectorate over three proposals, which included plans for a community building, sports pavilion and open space, a relief road to Shinfield and an M4 bridge.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, made the final announcement on Friday, November 9.
But Councillor Keith Baker, executive member for highways and planning, said: “We are tremendously disappointed the Secretary of State has decided to rule in favour of the university and ride roughshod over residents’ views.
“There are two significant outcomes that are absolutely contrary to what residents have told us through the extensive consultation exercise.”
“The first is the number of houses, which is a real increase on what had been approved on the site.
“The second issue is the green gap between the settlements.
“Residents spent a lot of time during consultation indicating they wanted a certain minimum gap, which we agreed with, but this decision has reduced that gap significantly in certain places.”
David Savage, The University of Reading chief operating officer, said: “We are delighted with the decision.
“During the course of the public inquiry last autumn, and throughout the lengthy application process, the university put forward a robust case and established significant areas of common ground with Wokingham Borough Council.”
He added: “We look forward to working closely with the borough council, Shinfield Parish Council and the community to realise these schemes, and to bringing considerable economic benefit and much needed housing to the area.”