Councillors approve plans for 30 homes at former Squires Garden Centre site

An application to build 30 homes on the former Squires Garden Centre site has been backed by a Royal Borough development panel.

The application follows a recent appeal decision, in which a proposal for 37 homes – consisting of a mixture of houses and flats – was refused, primarily due to the site being in the greenbelt and the design of the apartment blocks.

However, the site has now been removed from the greenbelt and is an allocated site under the newly-adopted Borough Local Plan.

In the latest plans for the site, one of the apartment blocks has been removed, and the other has been reduced in scale.

The plans now look to build 30 homes consisting of four-bed detached houses, three and four-bed semi-detached properties, three-bed terraced houses and an apartment block of two one-bed flats and six two-bed flats.

Speaking at the meeting on Wednesday night, Nick Pellew, Bray parish councillor for the Dedworth ward, said Bray Parish Council discussed the application at a recent planning meeting and requested councillors consider refusing it on a ‘number of grounds’.

These included the impact on air quality and the problems with traffic and congestion in the area.

Cllr Pellew explained Bray Parish Council has been monitoring nitrogen dioxide levels at the Squires site roundabout and has found the latest levels to be almost three times over the World Health Organisation guidelines.

He added that the parish had other concerns including density of the houses, parking, the size of the garages and the access and proposed new entrance.

Speaking at the meeting, Sarah Hockin of Turley, acting on behalf of the applicant Square Bay, said the layout and design of the development was ‘appropriate within its context’ and that the proposal will deliver ‘several’ benefits including 30 per cent on-site affordable housing.

She added: “The proposal is acceptable in highways terms with the council’s highways officer agreeing that there will not be an adverse impact on the highways network and that there is sufficient on-site car parking.”

Cllr David Hilton (Con, Ascot and Sunninghill) said the current application was ‘much changed’ and ‘much improved’, and Cllr Christine Bateson (Con, Sunningdale and Cheapside), said there was a need for more housing in the borough and this is the ‘best plan’ that has come forward for the site.

Cllr Amy Tisi (Lib Dem, Clewer East), said: “It does concern me that we are considering building family homes so close to such a busy road where children will have to cross to go to school, without sufficient infrastructure already there to make it safe for when the first people move in.”

The application was recommended for approval and councillors voted five to four in favour to pass the motion, which authorises the head of planning to grant planning permission, subject to conditions.

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