Dismay as scheme for 1,000 homes approved in Crowthorne

Published: 4 Feb 2014 09:301 comment

RESIDENTS have branded the decision by councillors to give the nod to redeveloping the former TRL site in Crowthorne as “ridiculous”.

Former TRL site in Old Wokingham Road Crowthorne

A unanimous decision was made by Bracknell Forest Council’s planning committee at a committee meeting last Thursday – much to the disgust of several community groups there.

The development is the single-biggest development within the council’s long-term housing strategy for the borough, with 1,000 homes, a neighbourhood centre, primary school, community centre, care home and municipal depot all planned for the site.

It will also see road improvements on routes surrounding the site, including lane widening on roundabouts and new traffic lights at the roundabout adjacent to the Golden Retriever pub.

An amendment was requested by Cllr Jim Finnie to the application for a consultation between developer Legal & General and health providers after it was discovered there was no provision for healthcare.

Planning committee chairman Cllr Colin Dudley also added an amendment that no building work was to start until all road improvements have been completed. About 50 residents were at the meeting, including representatives from Crowthorne Village Action Group (CVAG) and Protect Our Wokingham Without Woodland Residents (POW3RS) group.

Cllr Bruce McKenzie-Boyle, from Crowthorne Parish Council, was speaking on behalf of the opposition at the meeting, and said: “It will increase traffic and congestion and aggravate an unacceptable situation. It will also make the air quality worse when it is nearly at dangerous levels as it is. A number of residents I have spoken to don’t want this.”

After the meeting, John Buckle, chairman of CVAG, said: “It is absolutely nonsense. It is the decision we expected but not the result we wanted.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. Now we need to think how we deal with this and keep a close eye on the development.

“Hopefully we can still try and shape it to suit residents better. “The only good thing that can come out of this meeting is that all the road improvements will be completed by the time building commences.”

The proposals are part of the council’s Sites Allocation Local Plan, which outlines where more than 11,000 homes should be built around the borough by 2026.

The new housing at the former TRL site would be a mixture of one to five-bedroom homes, with a quarter available as ‘affordable housing’ .

Cllr Dudley said: “This application looks to protect the residents. Not only those living here now but the future residents of these homes.

“Reserved matters will have to come through this committee and they will be scrutinised. Members of the public can have their say on each one of these applications.”

Nick Baker, of Legal & General, said: “The Crowthorne proposals will re-use this previously developed site for 1,000 new homes as part of a comprehensive well designed mixed-use redevelopment.

“The development will make a significant contribution to meeting Bracknell Forest Council’s identified housing requirement.

“We look forward to working with the community as the development progresses.”

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