A controversial 226-home development between Bracknell and Crowthorne has narrowly won planning approval – after years of wrangling.

Permission to build the Beaufort Park estate just off Nine Mile Ride was granted in a knife-edge vote by Bracknell Forest Council’s planning committee on Thursday, March 21.

But some councillors and Crowthorne residents argued that too many trees would have to be destroyed to make way for the new estate.

Andy Holley of the Crowthorne Village Action Group told the committee: “Imagine a football pitch overed in trees of various types. Now imagine ten football pitches.

“If it’s approved it will be the biggest loss of woodland for a decade. And it’s unnecessary.”

READ MORE: We could soon be 'Bracknell without forest' warns councillor

But council planning officers said that the site had already been allocated for housing in Bracknell Forest Council’s new local plan, which it adopted earlier this month. This major planning document spells out where the council will allow houses to be built until 2037.

Planning officer Margaret McEverit said the council had to accept that some trees would be lost. But she said the creation of a new country park, and the planting of more varieties of trees and plants, would provide more biodiversity than provided by the single-tree species plantation.

She said: “We do seek to retain trees as far as possible. But it has been acknowledged and recognised that the only means of creating the housing allocation site here would be through the removal of the woodlands.”

The council’s planning committee rejected a previous version of the plans in 2022. And a government planning inspector upheld this decision in 2023 on the basis that parking plans weren’t up to scratch.

Council planning officers said the new plans had overcome this. But some councillors on the committee said they still couldn’t accept them. Gareth Barnard said he would ‘absolutely and emphatically’ not vote in favour due to the impact on the environment.

He said: “I have huge concerns about this development as it’s put forward.”

But other councillors said that as the previous objections had been dealt with, and as the council had allocated the site for housing, they had to approve it.

Councillor Tricia Brown said: “I did find this quite troublesome because it’s loads of houses on top of a forest, which I really don’t like.”

But she added: “The only thing this lost on before was the parking. I can’t see a way forward with this being refused. We really need those houses. We have so many houses in deep despair because they don’t have decent housing.”

The plans were approved, with six councillors voting in favour of the plans and five against.