New homes could come to former industrial siteBy Jennie Slevin
January 28, 2013
Plans for 14 homes on a ‘valuable’ brownfield site may get the go-ahead after councillors rejected planning officers’ recommendation for refusal.
Officers’ claimed the land would not be used effectively if approval was granted for 11 four-bedroom houses and three three-bed homes on the former Avoncrop site in Eastern Road at Bracknell Forest Council’s planning committee last Thursday.
Officers also highlighted the disused industrial land was earmarked in the council’s Site Allocations Development Plan Document (SADPD), which sets out where more than 12,000 homes will be built by 2026, and could be used to build as many as 325 homes.
They believe this would take pressure off of green field sites.
But Councillor Andy Blatchford said: “The officers suggested these houses will not be in keeping with the area, but how will huge blocks of flats look any better?
“The area has been examined by the officers and I know they work very hard, but unfortunately so many people want to live here and they want to live in decent homes.
“They don’t want to live in little boxes, they want decent houses and this development will provide that.
“We have an opportunity to build decent houses, not flats that people don’t want to live in.
“This area is already overflowing with flats and we don’t need any more.”
Cllr Robert Angell added: “Eastern Road is a very derelict-looking part of the borough. We should be ashamed of it, the whole area needs to be revamped.
“We have an opportunity now to totally change an area with what people want, desire and would be able to afford.”
But not all the committee agreed and councillors spent around an hour debating the plans submitted by JPP Land.
Cllr Dale Birch said: “This is a competitive development site.
“It should take a higher density of homes because of its location – if you leave areas like this with low levels of housing then you leave other areas of our green field land at risk of development.
“We have a very well-argued case for refusal and building flats on this site will take the pressure off of green field sites.”
He added: “The application for 14 houses is just below the threshold for affordable housing and it’s done either disingenuously or deliberately.”
Cllr Tricia Brown added: “They should be contributing something to the rest of the town.
“We would be doing our residents and families who need more affordable housing a disservice.”
The committee voted 10 to six against the officers’ recommendation to refuse, which enabled Cllr Angell to submit a motion for the head of development management to approve the scheme, subject to a list of conditions and a developer contributions agreement (Section 106) being reached.
The committee then voted in favour of the motion.