A plan to replace a long vacant modern office building with 68 homes in Bracknell has been given the go ahead despite widespread disapproval.

Housebuilders Taylor Wimpey applied to demolish Beaufort Park – an office building that was completed in 2009 but never used – and build 68 homes in its place.

Despite councillors attempting to shoot the plan down, it was given approval on appeal in 2018.

Recently, Taylor Wimpey submitted detailed plans for the 68 homes it is seeking to build, involving the scale, layout, appearance and landscaping  of the development.

READ MORE: Changes to old Peacocks in Bracknell, and 142 homes for Jennett's Park in latest plans submitted

But the proposal was met with widespread disapproval from members of Bracknell Forest Council’s planning committee, who voiced frustrations over the lack of affordable housing, the change in the character of South Road, and access to the site.

Of the 68 homes, seven will be affordable – less than the council’s policy of 25 per cent affordable housing amounting to 17 homes in this case.

This was met with anger by councillor Robert Angell (Conservative, Bullbrook).

During discussion, Cllr Angell, said:  “I’m gunna be bloody minded. I think it’s absolutely despicable that we have this situation. To think that we have a policy of 25 per cent affordable housing on this sort of a number, and we’re allowing seven is absolutely wrong.”

Of the seven affordable homes, two will be shared ownership houses and five will be apartments.

Bracknell News: An overhead masterplan of the 68 home plan at Beaufort Park. Credit: Taylor WimpeyAn overhead masterplan of the 68 home plan at Beaufort Park. Credit: Taylor Wimpey

Meanwhile, Cllrs Michael Gbadebo and Isabel Mattick expressed concern about the impact of the new estate on South Road, which is flanked by Easthampstead Park Cemetery to the west and Great Hollands Recreation Ground to the east.

Cllr Gbadebo (Conservative, Great Hollands South) said: “I’m asking the developers to think about existing residents, they enjoy the quiet of South Road, during the weekends that road is very busy, double parked, people play football using the pitch, and there’s nothing to stop the football from going on the road.

“When we build new properties and we respect existing residents I think we will get less objections.”

He proposed that a new road be built off Nine Mile Ride to the south, which forms part of a separate plan for 226 homes south of the office building submitted by Southern Housing Group.

READ MORE: Southern Housing Group blasted for 'neglecting tenants' in Bracknell

He asked the developers to come together and make sure that Nine Mile Ride is used as the main access to the development, rather than South Road.

For her part, Cllr Isabel Mattick (Conservative, Harmans Water), expressed concern about the impact the new estate could have on mourners using the cemetery.

Cllr Mattick said: “I’m deeply disturbed. There’s a very important servide down South Road, which is the crematorium and  cemetery.

“We recently had roadworks there, the whole road was blocked off apart from one narrow lane causing absolute mayhem.

“This is going to interfere with funerals, when people are sad. i don’t think enough consideration has been given as to the amount of traffic and activity down South Road already and it is only a narrow road.”

On the other hand, Cllr Brossard, the vice chairman of the committee (Conservative, Central Sandhurst), voiced approval for the scheme.

He said: “In principle the idea of demolishing the block and providing up to 68 dwellings is a laudable proposal.

“What I like is the mixture that’s proposed, they’re looking at apartments and houses of two to three storeys, I think that will provide an awful lot of visual appeal.”

READ MORE: Pub conversion and 226 homes plan for Beaufort Park in Bracknell submitted

The details for the 68 home plan were approved despite seven councillors abstaining and Cllr Angell voting against it. Four members voted in favour.

You can view twitter coverage of the meeting here: 

The decision was made at Bracknell Forest Council’s advisory planning meeting on Friday, November 12.

You can view the approved plans by typing in reference 21/00104/REM into the council’s planning portal here https://planapp.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/online-applications/