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Bray Parish Council recommends Squires site plans for refusal

Bray Parish Council has recommended that a plan to build 37 homes on the former Squires Garden Centre is refused.

A planning bid, submitted by Bewley Homes Plc and Square Bay LLP, was discussed by parish councillors at a planning meeting on Monday, July 15.

A previous application to build 39 homes on the site was also

recommended for refusal by Bray Parish Council in February and was withdrawn in March.

Presenting the application, Cllr Nicola Marsh said: “I don’t think they’ve (the developers) addressed the concerns that we had and that the planning officer had about the original application and I believe that our objections are still relevant.”

In the planning documents, the developer said it had addressed previous concerns by reducing the number of homes and amending the design.

Plans also involve relocating the existing access along Maidenhead Road with associated parking, internal circulation, public open space, landscaping and related infrastructure.

Bray Parish Council recommended refusal on the grounds there were no special circumstances to build on the greenbelt.

To view the application, visit www.rbwm.gov.uk and search for 19/01755/FULL

Bray Parish council acknowledged a development at the former site of Squires Garden Centre was probably inevitable but an application for 37 homes was ‘probably too much’.

The plans submitted by Bewley Homes Plc and Square Bay LLP were recommended for refusal by councillors at a parish planning meeting at on Monday (July 15).

In February they also recommended for refusal plans from the developers for 39 homes at the same site before the plans were then withdrawn in March.

Their reasons included it’s a green belt site, no very special circumstances were demonstrated, it’s overdevelopment of the site and the mass of the development and parking were issues.

Cllr Nicola Marsh presented the application, she said: “I don’t think they’ve (the developers) addressed the concerns that we had and that the planning officer had about the original application and I believe that our objections are still relevant.”

Martin Hall a member of Oakley Green and Fifield Residents Association (OGFRA) spoke in objection to the application at the meeting.

He said: “This scheme is poorly designed, density is far too high, there’s a harmful visual impact, wholly inadequate parking, lack of open space and no consideration to the surrounding character.”

He also sited it was ‘premature in its attempt to bypass the Borough Local Plan (BLP) examination process’.

Cllr Nick Pellew said: “I think the developer is going to look at the existing Squires site and the question that he will raise is whether their development causes more harm to the greenbelt than the existing Squires site, and I personally think it’s a much closer issue than everybody seems to be recognising.”

He added: “Does this sort of development cause more harm to the greenbelt than the existing site.”

Cllr Nicola Marsh acknowledged that the Squires site has ‘been completely covered in graffiti’.

Cllr Louvaine Kneen told councillors that ‘Earlsfield in Holyport was a garden centre once’.

She said: “There is a president set already for developing garden centres, I think what we’re just trying to send the message back that that’s over-development.

There’s going to be a development, I think we all appreciate that, but that’s probably too much.”

Chris Graham took issue with the development in regards to ‘the impact and the lack of recognition of the area and feel of the area’

He said: “The mass of the existing structure is in the middle at the back, this brings the mass to the edge and that’s where the impact where the impact on the greenebklt is most severely felt.”

Cllr Ken Elvin said: “I don’t think we should be approving anything that’s in the BLP in advance of the BLP because this is side-stepping the inspection process, and the whole thing, and therefore in that respect it’s a little bit shady.”

Cllr Derek Wilson said: “The very fact is that it is contained in the BLP, the BLP is at examination and until a determination has been made upon that we can’t really make any comment.”

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