04:10PM, Thursday 04 November 2021
Fears of flooding has promoted a decision on 32-homes in Wraysbury to be delayed – despite officers saying further information won’t change their minds.
OSB Ltd, the applicant, wanted to build 14 affordable retirement homes, four detached, and 14 semi-detached homes on 19 Old Ferry Drive and its greenbelt land in Wraysbury.
A business/community hub and a children’s play area were also proposed.
But the plans faced heavy criticism from planning officers who recommended to councillors on the Windsor & Ascot development management panel to reject the outline scheme.
They set out 10 reasons to refuse this application, with major concerns it will be an ‘inappropriate’ development on the greenbelt and the site sits within a high-risk area of flooding where it would not be safe for future residents.
The layout was also criticised for being 'poorly laid out' and the site would be ‘inaccessible’ for homeowners. There was also no assessment the development could have on the nearby grade II* listed King Johns Hunting Lodge.
Several objections made by residents didn’t help the plans after it was slammed as 'ill-conceived' and 'wrong on various levels'.
A speaker for the applicant told members to defer the application so they can gather expert comments from flooding agencies on their mitigation plans to relieve fears.
He said: “We have demonstrated that no development is proposed within the functional floodplain and that the proposed buildings will all include floodable voids, the details of which again can be provided at the reserved matters stage.
“It would, in my view, be appropriate for both the lead flood agency and the Environment Agency to be permitted to comment on our further clarifications.”
Planning officers maintained their view the development is in the functional floodplain. They also said they have received comments from flooding bodies, such as the Environment Agency, and have shared their concerns about the scheme.
However, the chairman of the committee, Cllr David Cannon (Con: Datchet, Horton & Wraysbury) proposed to defer the application to give the applicant time to gather further evidence.
He said: “I think it would be reasonable if we’re going to refuse it, to refuse it for the right reasons.
“So, I think it’s probably sensible to allow them to provide that evidence and provide that matter here rather than being dealt somewhere else in the future.
“My view is, and I’m not promising it’ll be a great change, but I think to be seen to be giving it fair consideration, we may consider deferring it.”
But planning officers maintained it will be 'unlikely' their refusal recommendation will change as they have 'numerous' flood risk concerns that won’t be all quashed and panel members have all the information necessary to block the scheme.
Despite this, the five Conservatives on the panel voted for deferral to ensure they have the evidence to support all the reasons for refusal.
The meeting took place on Wednesday, November 3.
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