Village holds its breath for mini-town bidBy Hugh Fort
April 28, 2008
A developer hoping to build a mini-town in Winnersh has confirmed an application will be submitted “in the next few weeks” and hopes a decision will be made in the early summer.
Bovis Homes wants to build hundreds of homes, a new primary school and country park on the former Hatch Farm Dairies site in King Street Lane.
It had hoped to build 600 homes on the site, which has been put forward by Wokingham Borough Council as land suitable for development, but was forced to go back to the drawing board.
The Environment Agency raised concerns over flooding and the developer has been working on a new plan ever since April last year.
The developer did not confirm specific details of the plan, but it is thought it is working on a smaller application for around 495 homes.
The original application contained plans for a primary school and a relief road to ease traffic congestion from the site, but it is not know yet if the new application will.
The Wokingham Times was contacted by Winnersh councillor Prue Bray, who was growing frustrated at what she saw as a lack of information coming from the developer.
She said: “In April last year, Bovis Homes was told by the Environment Agency 600 homes were too many for that site, due to the risk of flooding.
“They went away to redesign the plans and, despite several meetings with Wokingham Borough Council, a new application has not been received.
“I am now trying to escalate my enquiry up the company because I think a year is long enough for them to announce something.
“People are sitting nervously waiting for something to happen.”
Pat Rowell, chairman of Winnersh Residents Against Planning (WRAP), said: “The previous application was a concern because of flooding issues.
“I gather Bovis is working on new plans.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the application moves all the houses from one end of the site to the other but they would still have major, major problems with traffic and installing cables and things like that.
“It will be interesting to see what Bovis come up with.”
A spokesman for Bovis Homes said: “We have been liaising closely with planning and highways officers at Wokingham Borough Council, together with the Environment Agency and we believe now we have the basis of a revised layout that we hope will meet the aspirations of council members.
“Our architects have been working hard to ensure the revised layout complies with both the council’s own design guidelines and the ideals of members, along with the requirement of both developers.
“Progress is being made and we hope the additional information we provide to the planning department over the next few weeks will be sufficient for officers to consider taking a revised planning application back to committee in early summer.”