Controversial plans to build 249 homes in Shinfield have been thrown out, much to the delight of residents and councillors.

Bellway Homes was denied permission to build on land south of Cutbush Lane having submitted the original planning application more than 13 months ago. 

After a debate lasting two hours councillors refused the application due to a lack of social rent housing, some 3-storey units not being in character with the area, the site encroaching into the countryside and a proposed play area having a lack of screening.

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Reacting to the decision, Shinfield South councillor Charlotte Haitham Taylor told the News: “I’m absolutely delighted with the decision, I’m really pleased for the residents of Shinfield and the wider area it has been refused. 

“There were lots of problems with the application itself - I felt it was very premature.

“I think everybody feels we are at a breaking point at the moment. We sit in traffic for hours trying to get to and from work and dropping off our children at school”.

The planning committee debate was dominated by questions about the area’s need for housing given Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) could already indicate sufficient housing supply over the next five years. 

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Officers told councillors developers have been granted permission to build 2,790 homes in the area, with that number rising to just more than 3,000 if the application were to be approved. 

Cllr Carl Doran said the executive’s decision to release this land for house building was like it was ‘shooting itself in the foot’.

Other issues raised at WBC’s planning meeting on Wednesday, June 12 included problems around flooding and congestion developing on surrounding roads were raised but not included in the reasons for refusal. 

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Resident Mark Chatfield told the News he was also “delighted” at the decision, adding it was “what the residents want”.

But he raised fears about developers appealing the decision, telling the News: “The only question mark on my mind is it should have been rejected on a few more points. 

“One of those is the SANG (suitable alternative natural greenspace) being flooded constantly, and I think we missed an opportunity to reject it on the basis of traffic modelling. 

“The traffic modelling is actually wrong - we know that because as residents we’re sitting in queues in the mornings and evenings to get in and out of the area. 

“The problem is we won’t be able to argue on those two points (if developers appeal).”

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The application had been deferred twice in the past six months. 

It was set for approval in May after complications over land use at a previous planning committee meeting delayed judgement on the plans in February.  

Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee members threw out a planning application related to the plans to build 249 homes at the site.  

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 were set to be judged by the planning committee again after it emerged the site already had suitable natural greenspace to support the land.

The applicants again decided to withdraw the planning application from consideration at a council planning meeting in May in order to finalise legal agreements. 

Had the plans been approved, almost 100 of the houses would have been three bedroom houses, 49 would have been four bedroom-houses, 67 would have been two-bedroom houses and 41 would have been one and two-bedroom apartments. 

Of the 249 homes, 87 were expected to be made affordable with a commuted sum paid to the council too. 

The application was refused despite 500 trees being cut down at the site, in addition to other works to existing hedgerows.