Parish council recommends homes plan at Squires site for refusal

An application for 39 homes on the former Squires Garden Centre site was unanimously recommended for refusal by Bray Parish Council on Monday.

Councillors discussed the application for 27 one and two-bedroom properties and 12 affordable homes at a parish planning meeting at the Braywood War Memorial Hall.

Developers Bewley Homes and Square Bay are seeking to build on land in Maidenhead Road following the closure of the garden centre in October.

The site is on greenbelt land and forms part of the HA11 site in the Borough Local Plan, earmarked for 450 homes by the council.

Cllr Nick Pellew presented the application and said about fifty individuals and four residents associations have lodged comments in objection to the plan, with one person is support.

In their application the developers present ‘very special circumstances’ for building in the greenbelt, which are all to do with the borough’s housing need.

Cllr Pellew said: “As we know, you can’t use housing need as part of your exceptional circumstances.”

He added ‘there are a stack of issues with this’, including traffic on the A308.

Cllr Pellew said: “We as a council have already said we won’t approve any developments that have an impact on the A308.”

The 77 parking bays and one visitor bay for a total of about 96 bedrooms was also a concern.

Cllr Derek Wilson called the application ‘a bit premature’. He said: “The government inspector still has to go through the rest of the Borough Local Plan (BLP).”

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Wilson explained that without a BLP councillors have no concrete grounds to reject applications. He added the planning process is then ‘vulnerable’ because developers are more likely to take a ‘punt’ on getting their applications through on appeal.

Appealed applications are sent to the planning inspectorate, an independent body.

Cllr Wilson added: “People don’t like what’s in the plan but it’s better having a plan than no plan at all.”

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