Fears for future development outside a piece of land's agricultural use did not stop councillors from approving plans for a “suburban” looking farm gate in Sindlesham.

Mr Jamie Tranckle had applied for retrospective planning permission for the gate at the junction of Mole Road and Ellis’s Hill. His application said the gate is to facilitate the land’s current agricultural use.

But councillor Gary Cowan claimed it was out of keeping with the agricultural area and referred the matter to Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee.

He told the committee on Wednesday, September 13: “The boundary wall and gate do have a suburban appearance and this development is not typical of a traditional agricultural operation or access to a field.”

He added: “The countryside needs as much protection as we can afford it.”

READ MORE: Sindlesham gate prompts fears of future housing plans

Councillors on the committee wondered whether the owner had plans to use the field for something other than farming in the future. David Cornish said that he’d seen a lot of building material in the field behind the gate when he visited the site.

He said: “I don’t know under what form of agriculture can be categorised what’s happening behind the gate. There’s an awful lot of hardcore and brickwork, and I’ve never seen a field of bricks being planted like that before.”

And councillor Tony Skuse said: “I just wonder why you need to put this on an agricultural field and the worry is that there is some intention to do some sort of change of use and development beyond that.”

Meanwhile, councillor Wayne Smith raised fears that the walls to the side of the gate could be built higher than shown in the plans. He said photographs showed the wall wasn’t fully built, and asked why planners hadn’t submitted measurements with their plan drawings.

Bracknell News: The wall that councillors believe is unfinishedThe wall that councillors believe is unfinished (Image: Wokingham Borough Council)

Council officers said only sections higher than two metres needed planning permission. They added that the owner would have to make a new application if he wanted to change the plans or use the land for another purpose.

Officers accepted that the gate and wall are not “typical of an agricultural operation.” But they said it would have “limited visual harm on the area as it is simple in design, modest in size, set well back from the main road and is largely screened from view by vegetation.”

Mr Tranckle’s planning agent, Gareth Jones, insisted the gate is used for agricultural purposes.

He said: “The nature of the use remains agricultural and therefore accords with the wider countryside principles of the locality.”

Councillors voted to grant permission, with five votes in favour and four against.