A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for 249 homes in Shinfield is set to get the go-ahead from the council next week.

The plans have already angered hundreds of residents having been in the pipeline since May 2018 and had suffered a setback as recently as February.

But now the application is back after closer inspection of the land around Shinfield means applicants and council officers are happy for it to go ahead.

More than 200 residents have submitted comments and objections to the council about the plans, with many worried about overdevelopment in Shinfield, building on countryside land, flooding, impact on health services and schools, impact on wildlife and much more.

Shinfield resident Jim Frewin told the News: "The area just can't cope with it - there's no need for more houses.

"Estate agents have told me they would be lucky to sell one house a week around here. 

"The traffic can't cope now - we had gridlock here on Tuesday and it took people an hour to get on to the M4.

"I sat in the doctor's surgery on Monday and they said they can't cope anymore. 

"It is right on the edge of an area which floods and is next to a floodplain."

Mr Frewin said he was also concerned the council had not notified objectors of the planning committee's imminent decision. 

Shinfield Parish Council outlined their support for the scheme “with regret”, adding they wished to see a number of conditions added to the plans to accept the proposal.

A number of commenters pointed out the council's u-turn on allowing this land to be built on as originally the site had not been earmarked for development until 2026 at the earliest.

But a 2017 Wokingham Borough Council executive decision saw the authority reverse this plan so building work could be allocated to land south of Cutbush Lane.

Councillors and audience members walked out of a public meeting in January after a furious row erupted during a meeting discussing a petition about overdevelopment in Shinfield

Residents thought they had cause for celebration in February when Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee members threw out a planning application related to the plans to build 249 homes on the land south of Cutbush Lane.

The University of Reading had applied for permission to make more than 21 hectares of land west of River Loddon available for recreational use, which would have made it possible for the housing application to move forward, but councillors rejected these plans over flooding concerns.

Bellway Homes then decided to withdraw their 249 homes proposal, but their plans will now be judged by the planning committee after it emerged the site already had suitable natural greenspace to support the land.

A planning report produced for the council outlined how following a review of the surroundings it was found the applicants could use green space on land from High Copse Farm on Hyde End Road to Church Lane - also known as the Ridge.

Therefore the council’s planning officers have deemed the application suitable for approval, with a report noting: “It is considered the application will deliver high-quality development and related infrastructure.”

Almost 100 of the houses will be three bedroom houses, 49 will be four-bedroom houses, 67 will be two-bedroom houses and 41 will be one and two-bedroom apartments.

Of the 249 homes, 87 are expected to be made affordable.

This represents 34.9 per cent of all housing, which is below the council’s required ratio of 35 per cent.

More than 500 parking spaces are expected to accommodate the 249 homes.

Up to 500 trees have already been cut down at the site, in addition to other works to existing hedgerows.

The council has been powerless to stop the trees being felled but the work has infuriated residents.

Jim Frewin told the News in March it seemed like the applicants could “get away with anything”.