CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 55 homes in Shinfield have taken a big step forward.

Developer Taylor Wimpey wants to build the homes on open pasture land, just off Basingstoke Road, that is between Three Mile Cross and Spencers Wood.

Their reserved matter’s planning application was approved by Wokingham Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Wednesday, October 14.

The decision was made after people living near the site and councillors raised concerns about potential flooding, the loss of 68 mature trees and the impact on surrounding roads.

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According to the plans, the developer will build a range of two-storey homes, from one-bedroom terrace houses to five-bedroom detached houses, and provide 106 car parking spaces and electric vehicle charging points for every home.

They have also promised to provide 19 affordable homes (10 shared ownership and nine affordable rent) and 1.56 hectares of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG), that will run through the centre of the site, with houses on either side.

Gillie York, who lives next to the site, told the meeting there are “significant problems” with drainage because of the clay soil and the current drainage plans “are insufficient”.

“You’re proposing to put another 50-odd houses on here with the drainage at the moment and it’s just not sustainable,” she told the meeting.

Harry Glossop, who also lives near the site, then raised concerns about “the concentration” of the affordable homes and a lack of privacy, claiming “all the bedrooms will be facing each other”.

Cllr Jim Frewin, representing Shinfield South, said: “I find it difficult to understand how any proposal that adds 55 dwellings on green land with a loss of 68 trees, and adding further traffic to an already congested road network, can be deemed as not having a detrimental impact.”

He also said there have been “repeated sewage and surface water flooding incidents” in the Three Mile Cross Area which are “now regularly occurring”.

“Adding to a waste system that already has issues seems illogical, detrimental and an ongoing health risk,” he said.

But planning officer Connor Corrigan said the council and the developers are aware of the drainage issues and “there will no doubt be an improved drainage system” when the homes are built.

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He explained that Thames Water, which will be responsible for the sewage system, have not objected to the development “but they do need to make some improvements locally”.

Mr Corrigan then said the developer has agreed to provide enough space between the homes to meet the council’s standards and around 90 trees will be planted to replace the 68 trees that are getting cut down.

The meeting also heard that a project to install traffic calming measures and reduce the speed limit on Basingstoke Road (next to the site) is well underway.

In a report on the project, planning officers have said there will not be “detrimental impacts on ecology, flood risk, traffic and highway safety.”

The reserved matters application was ultimately approved by a majority decision at the meeting on October 14.

More than 30 people have objected to the plans since outline planning permission was approved on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate in February 2019.