A proposal for 1,000 homes at Sandleford Park is to be determined by the Secretary of State. This follows the Council’s refusal to grant permission for the scale of housing, a new primary school, the expansion of a 6th form academy and a commercial centre, arguing that the scheme would be harmful and unsustainable.
The site is located south of Newbury and west of Greenham Common, and is approximately 114 hectares. It comprises agricultural land and several areas of woodland, with the majority being ancient woodland, designated as Local Wildlife Sites (LWS).
The council viewed the proposal as piecemeal development giving rise to unnecessary mitigation, which itself would result in harmful impact. For affordable housing, there would be a 40% on-site provision as required, but the mix would fail to deliver the necessary proportion of units for social rent for which there was the greatest need.
The proposal would result in the extensive loss of trees and hedgerow to the detriment of the amenity, visual quality and verdant character of the area. It would cause harm to several irreplaceable priority habitats comprising ancient and veteran trees.
An appeal has been lodged to challenge the case for refusal by the Council and to be heard by the Planning Inspectorate. However, the Secretary of State has intervened and will now take the final decision on the development.