12:00PM, Friday 16 February 2018
A controversial planning application for a care village has been withdrawn just weeks after it lost the backing of borough councillors.
The Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) and developer Baycroft submitted plans for 108 independent and assisted-living units and a 50-bed care home on college land in Burchetts Green back in 2016.
A public inquiry was due to take place in April after it was called in by the Government’s planning inspectorate.
But in December, Royal Borough councillors refused the plans, going back on a decision they had made to approve the proposals nine months earlier.
On Friday, the plans were formally withdrawn.
BCA had previously argued that the development would help secure its financial future but the application was opposed by many in the village.
Joe Stoughton, vice chairman of Burchetts Green Village Association, said: “We in the village are delighted with the outcome. It is a victory for planning law over the personal desires of certain borough councillors.
“In the future councillors need to be guided by their planning and legal officers, thus avoiding this shameful waste of rate payers’ money.”
Mr Stoughton added that the village was ‘very supportive’ of the college and would not be against BCA putting in a smaller planning application that would ‘give them some money’.
The withdrawal of the application came after the borough said it would ‘not be minded’ to approve the application on appeal.
A letter from BCA principal Gillian May said: “In light of RBWM’s changed position with respect to [the application] I write to confirm that we hereby give notice that we wish to withdraw as an applicant from the planning application.
“Baycroft will need to confirm separately whether they are proceeding with the application as the sole applicant.”
This was sent to the borough on Monday, January 15 and, on Friday, Baycroft followed the
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