05:00PM, Thursday 18 March 2021
Chair of the Save Jealotts Hill campaign Pat Kennedy
A proposal for 2,000 homes on the greenbelt has been included in Bracknell Forest’s draft local plan – impacting residents in Holyport, Fifield and Oakley Green.
In October 2019, Syngenta, an agrochemical company, put forward a proposal to Bracknell Forest Council to develop a 240-hectare site in Jealott’s Hill, including a science park, school and other facilities.
Bray Parish Council (BPC) and the Royal Borough both objected to the development, in large part because of the effect on traffic in the area, along the A330 and A308.
More than 4,500 signatures were received on the Save Jealott’s Hill petition.
In a meeting on Tuesday, Bracknell Forest Council put forward its draft Local Development Plan 2020-2037, outlining the developments for the local area as a whole – including the Jealott’s Hill proposal.
The draft plan will now be reviewed by an inspector to review and make recommendations, with a seven-week consultation.
Campaign group Save Jealott’s Hill said it is ‘disappointed but not surprised’ by the council’s vote to put forward the draft plan in its current form.
“We are proud of the councillors who voted against the draft plan and stood by their constituents and principles,” said chairman Pat Kennedy.
“We feel energised for the consultation and the inquiry. We will fight on – there’s no backing down on our side.”
Barbara Frame, chair of Oakley Green and Fifield Community Association (OGAFCA) said: “From OGAFCA’s point of view our main concern, apart from the obvious wanton destruction of a large swathe of open greenbelt land, is the intolerable pressure that this development would put on our roads.
“The extra traffic that this vast development would create would not flow through Bracknell Forest, it would go through Holyport, Fifield and Oakley Green to reach the M4 and then M40 and M25 motorways. Another potential 8,000 vehicles thrown into the mix cannot be sustained.
“In the short term, the construction traffic would, no doubt, also use our roads to access the site and we would be expected to tolerate a constant convoy of heavy vehicles causing noise and pollution for a number of years.”
Bracknell Forest’s development plan will be submitted for a public inquiry later this year, around October.
In a statement, Jealott’s Hill consortium (which includes Syngenta and associated groups) said: “It is great news that Bracknell Forest Council has recognised the important role Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre plays, not just for global food security, but also for the local economy.
“By opening up access to the site we can deliver a community for both new and existing residents with education, healthcare, shops and services, a vastly improved transport network and 115 acres of new, accessible green space for all to enjoy.”
This is the second large-scale development affecting Bray which has resurfaced after a long period under debate. Click here for an update on the Lodge Farm development.