RESIDENTS celebrated after a bid to replace two bungalows with flats was thrown out at a heated planning meeting where councillors admitted they had "allowed terrible things to happen" in the town.

It may signal a change in planning policy as councillors take a firmer stance against developers.

About a dozen residents of Fernbank Road in Ascot were at Bracknell Forest Council's planning committee meeting on Thursday, November 18 to object to the seventh application in six years for the two homes in the street to be redeveloped.

Dana Hunt, who lives in the road, told councillors that councils should follow the Government's directions to resist "garden grabbing".

She said: "The intensity of the development would lead to a marked deterioration in the character of the area." Cllr Andy Blatchford said: "We have had a change of Government together with a change of view about development in areas like this. I personally feel we should stand up and be counted if we feel this is over-development." Cllr Jim Finnie added: "It's time this committee stood up for what the people of Bracknell want. We have allowed terrible things to happen." The chorus of disapproval also included Cllr Shelagh Pile, who said there are too many unsold flats. Ascot ward councillor Tony Virgo said the application was "too big" and "unwanted by the local community". Others had concerns about the garden being replaced with an unspecified parking layout and echoed concerns raised in 35 objection letters and by Winkfield Parish Council that eight two-bed flats in two two-storey blocks would be over-bearing and add to congestion.

Woodbury Homes had reduced the height of the proposed flats' gables since an earlier application to try to make it more acceptable, but councillors rejected the new application at Thursday 18th's meeting.

Woodbury Homes had no comment.