As a new planning application is made by U+I plc to build 265 homes on Pincents Hill, Alok Sharma, Member of Parliament for Reading West, has today released the results from his residents’ survey about the proposed development on the Pincents Hill site which demonstrates that a large majority of local residents still oppose any development in the site.
In 2009, developer Blue Living submitted a formal planning application to build 750 new homes and commercial units on the Pincents Hill site. This was rejected following a campaign by the Save Calcot Action Group and local residents, which Alok supported.
Subsequently, in 2014 agents acting for the owners of Pincents Hill put the site forward for inclusion in West Berkshire Council’s Housing Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD), suggesting that the site could take between 225 and 300 homes. Again, with the support of local residents and District Councillors, it was ensured that Pincents Hill was not included in the DPD.
However, during the summer of 2018, a fresh attempt was made to consider development on Pincents Hill by the site’s owner, U+I plc, which along with its advisor, TOWN, held a series of public exhibitions to explain their proposals for development on the site.
In response to the proposals, Alok launched a residents’ survey in October 2018 to gauge local reaction to the plans. The survey was delivered to homes in the Pincents Hill area and to date, Alok has received over 700 responses.
The majority of those who responded do not want to see this site developed due to concerns about the pressure it would put on local public services like schools, doctors’ surgeries, roads and the loss of public green space.
2019 planning application
In January 2019, U+I plc and TOWN have formalised their plans to develop on Pincents Hill, as set out in planning application no 19/00113/OUTMAJ on the West Berkshire Council website www.westberks.gov.uk. As well as a plan to build 265 homes, the application also includes proposals to build a mixed use building which, according to the application, could be used to “provide a community healthcare hub”.
Alok Sharma said: “I am delighted that so many local residents have taken the trouble to complete and return my survey about development on the Pincents Hill site. This just goes to show how much local people care about this site.”
Alok continued: “The results of my survey clearly demonstrate that a very large majority of residents continue to object to any building on this valued green space. There are a range of strong objections to U+I plc and Town’s proposals and anyone who has any concerns about this planning application can register their views with West Berkshire Council by submitting comments, quoting planning application no 19/00113/OUTMAJ, via the Council’s online Public Access system, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to the Head of Development and Planning at Planning Policy, Planning and Countryside, West Berkshire Council, Market Street, Newbury, RG14 5LD. The deadline for comments to be received is Monday 11th February 2019.”
Summary of results of the survey
Over 700 returned questionnaires
The survey questions asked were:
Q1: Looking at this afresh, for how many homes do you think the Pincents Hill site is suitable?
Q1 Answer: 63% of respondents think the Pincents Hill site unsuitable for any homes, with 8% of respondents thinking the site would be suitable for between 0-50 homes
Q2: Site owner U+I plc’s advisor, TOWN say they have undertaken analysis of education provision in the local area. Their research indicates that a development of 285 homes may lead to an additional 128 school-age children in the area. However, according to TOWN, due to the number of existing primary and secondary schools in the area with spaces available, a new school is not included within their proposals. Do you agree with TOWN’s conclusion?
Q2 Answer: 85% of respondents do not agree with TOWN’s conclusion not to include a new school in their proposal
Q3: TOWN say they have undertaken analysis of health provision in the local area. According to TOWN, a development of 285 homes would generate a demand equivalent to ¼ of a GP. TOWN have concluded that this demand is not sufficient in its own right to make a new GP surgery viable. Would you like to see formal provision of medical services as part of the proposals?
Q3 Answer: 84% of respondents would like to see formal provision of medical services as part of the proposals
Q4: TOWN have proposed that vehicle access will be restricted to a single point of access from the south of the site only (via the A4 Bath Road). Thinking about the impact on local traffic, do you support this proposal?
Q4 Answer: 75% of respondents do not support TOWN’s proposal to restrict vehicle access to a single point of access from the south of the site only (via the A4 Bath Road)
Q5. Under the proposals, 17 acres of the 43 acre site would be put aside by TOWN for a new public park. Do feel this is a sufficient proportion of the site for public green space?
Q5 Answer: 64% of respondents do not feel that 17 acres of the 43 acre site is a sufficient proportion of the site for public green space