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  6. Mixed fortunes for major housing schemes

Mixed fortunes for major housing schemes

An outline planning application for a major housing-led mixed use development at Andover in Hampshire has been allowed on appeal by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

However, in the case of two other major residential schemes he has dismissed an appeal by developer Blue Living against the refusal of outline planning permission for a major urban extension at a site near Tilehurst, Reading and refused to allow an appeal over a 269-home proposal at Sandbach in Cheshire.

Permission for the 530-home Andover scheme, refused by Test Valley Borough Council, was in line with a recommendation from a planning inspector. In his decision letter Pickles argued that the proposals represented a sustainable scheme in an area with a lack of a five-year supply of housing land.

The Tilehurst scheme had been blocked by West Berkshire Council. Pickle’s decision was in line with the recommendation of the inspector who held a public inquiry earlier this year.

Pickles said the proposals for 750 homes, a healthcare centre, primary school, energy centres, offices and wildlife corridors were for land outside the current settlement boundary and within open countryside “where policies of restraint apply and within which it could cause substantial harm”.

Pickles also said the scheme would cause harm to the landscape quality of the area including “failing to preserve the natural beauty of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.

In the case of the Sandbach scheme Pickles argued that development of the appeal site was contrary to countryside protection policies and that housing would not be in a location where the fullest use of sustainable transport was possible.

Access the decision letters. 


Roger Milne

7 July 2011