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Bracknell Forest Council bosses come under fire from planning inspector over sustainabilty of long-term housing plans

Published: 25 Jul 2014 15:300 comments

BOROUGH bosses claim their long-term housing plans are sustainable – despite a Government planning inspector saying Bracknell Forest Council is failing to build sufficient houses.

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Inspector Paul Griffiths made the comments after accepting an appeal to build a new house in Warfield. The applicant’s initial bid was turned down by the council.

In his ruling, he wrote: “It is evident from the appellant’s analyses that the trajectory of delivery relied upon by the council, and accepted by the SALP inspector, has turned out to be optimistic.

“On the balance of the evidence put before me, the only rational conclusion possible is that the council cannot, at the present time, demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites.”

Councillors adopted the Sites Allocation Local Plan (SALP) – which outlines where more than 11,000 homes should be built around the borough by 2026 – last year, and claimed it would reduce the chances of houses being permitted when a developer took it to appeal.

However, plans to knock down The Old Piggery, in Gibbins Lane, Warfield, and replace it with a four-bedroom home were approved by Mr Griffiths on appeal.

This has raised fears that other developers could win their own disputes with the council – potentially opening the floodgates for more homes to be built. Lis Casey, from Binfield Village Protection Society, which is fighting plans for homes and schools at Blue Mountain Golf Club, said: “There is another appeal over a 72-dwelling development in Tilehurst Lane coming up which was refused by the council originally.

“If another council decision to refuse a plan is overhauled by the inspectorate, then it shows up the SALP for what it really is – not very much at all.”

Vincent Paliczka, director of environment, culture and communities at Bracknell Forest Council, said: “By applying the methodology recommended by the Site Allocations Inspector we know we have a five-year housing land supply.

“We’re confident that we have a robust plan in place to ensure the appropriate number of houses will be built in Bracknell Forest, and the decision of this particular Inspector to allow permission to build one single home does not set a precedent for other planning applications or appeals.”

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