Parking concerns raised over Sunningdale retirement home complex

Shay Bottomley

shayb@baylismedia.co.uk

A new retirement complex could be coming to Sunningdale after councillors voted to defer and delegate a proposal at a planning panel on Wednesday night.

Located on the A30, the 40-home complex, comprising of a mixture of one and two-bedroom flats, was voted 7-1 of officer’s recommendation to defer the decision to council’s planning department.

Ian Hann, agent for applicants McCarthy and Stone, introduced the proposal and said: “Such accommodation is much needed both nationally and locally.

“Indeed, national planning guidance states it is critical that local authorities deliver housing for older persons and is the only type of housing to have its delivery described in such urgent terms.”

A communal area and 36 parking spaces would be provided, the latter proving to be a contentious issue throughout the meeting. Due to the timing of the application, it could only be judged against parking requirements published in 2004.

Cllr Jon Davey (WWRA, Clewer & Dedworth West) expressed concerns regarding the lack of parking, with less than one space per household for residents.

“The practical reality is if they [older residents] are in a nursing home, then they’re unlikely to want to go driving around the place,” he said.

“But if they’re living by themselves or with a partner, the likelihood is they’re not going out for a country walk on the A30 - there’s fast traffic moving around, so you don’t want to be walking around there.

“If it’s 700 metres to the nearest shopping area, it’s a long a walk, if you’re elderly, so the likelihood is you’re going to have two cars for each household.

“Playing within the rules for parking is what builders are going to do, but the practical reality is that the 2004 policy really isn’t fit for purpose.”

Cllr Julian Sharpe (Con, Eton & Castle) echoed his concerns, adding that there was ‘definitely a danger’ that cars from the development would park on the A30.

Likewise, Cllr Carole da Costa (WWRA, Clewer & Dedworth East) queried whether two disabled parking spaces would be ‘adequate’ considering the nature of the development.

In response, Jo Richards, development management team manager for the Royal Borough, confirmed that the application had met the required standards.

She added: “To be clear for the committee members, parking is determined against current planning policy, and that’s what we need to take account.”

“In terms of the planning policy, we couldn’t require any more [disabled parking spaces]. Obviously, the developer may choose, depending on their market, if they need any more, but we couldn’t require them to do so.”

Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury) added that there had been no objections from the highways department.

The motion to approve officer’s recommendation to defer and delegate was approved 7-1 with Cllr Davey voting against stating he believed that the existing parking policy ‘was not fit for purpose’.

To view the application in full, search 21/00621/FULL on the Royal Borough's planning portal.

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