About 15 members of the public were present.
An appeal is being made by the developers to the Planning Inspectorate because of the non-determination of planning application 16/00503/OUTD by West Berks Council in the required time. The Inspectorate will determine whether the planning application should be allowed or refused by written representations.
Comments should go to the Planning Inspectorate by 14th July - see https://acp.planningportal.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150842. It was said that comments made on the original application would reach the Planning Inspectorate but comments/ new comments can be submitted.
Affordability: the purchase price of each house was estimated to be ~£650,000. To make these affordable to young families, a scheme is proposed whereby the householder owns half the property and rents the other half with the opportunity to increase the owned share. West Berks Council was said to be involved in this shared equity scheme. West Berks Council planning policy states that private affordable housing is required in the area.
Sustainability: these houses would have identical sustainability to other houses in the village which has a local primary school and a pub.
Settlement boundary: The developer believes that developments adjacent to the settlement boundary is consistent with the Council’s planning policy ADPP1: ‘Most development will be within or adjacent to the settlements’ and stated that settlement boundaries are in the process of being updated & that the Curridge boundary has not been reviewed since the 1990’s.
That the application is in the AONB is irrelevant as development is allowed in the AONB.
The current application does not use the whole of the available land but leaves two plots on either side.
The developer is not challenging the application on the lack of land supply in the district.
The developer stated that It is natural for villages to expand & accept more housing. Many in the audience will have moved into ‘newly built houses.
The developer will address any local concerns.
Questions / points from the public included:
This application creates a dangerous precedent for development on the same side of Chapel Lane and land elsewhere in the village which is adjacent to the settlement boundary. Developer’s answer: it does not create a precedent. Each application is assessed on its own merits.
Impact on Chapel Lane:
- How are large construction vehicles going to get to and into the site? Developer’s answer: the developer has to show it is feasible to get to the site & expects to ensure that the condition of the Lane is maintained during the construction period. The developer has not got access to the site across other land.
- More vehicle movements on Chapel Lane will have an adverse effect on the Lane: responsibility for maintenance of Chapel Lane & its status discussed.
It is unusual for such houses to have such large gardens – why have they got large gardens?
Curridge is not a sustainable location: no shops, long way to bus stop.
Existing residents moved to Curridge because of its rural nature–they do not want more houses & do not want to look onto houses rather than fields.
What level of energy efficiency do these houses have?
There has been patchy circulation of information to local residents about the application and appeal: the developer has used names known to them from the Council website etc.
It was pointed out that West Berks Council has identified Service Centres and Villages where development should occur. Curridge was not one of them. The adjacent villages of Chieveley and Hermitage had been identified as such, had accepted development and their settlement boundaries reviewed.