Monday, 17 August 2009

Campaign Update: Save Pincents Hill!

West Berkshire Council have confirmed that they have extended the consultation period for the controversial planning application at Pincents Hill. Letters and comments can now be sent by letter or online until Friday September 18th.

If you wish to write remember to include a name and address and send your comment to: Planning Service, West Berkshire Council, Market Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Alternatively you can email www.westberks.gov.uk/planapps

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At a packed out meeting at the Calcot Centre over 100 people came to register their opposition and support Tilehurst Parish Council's decision to formally oppose the plans.

Cllr Gardner noted Tilehurst's experience with planning battles and the need for solid grounds of objection:
"We are objecting to the principle of building on a greenfield site which is a strategic gap and is outside the settlement boundary."
SCAG chairperson Joan Lawrie was pleased that Tilehurst Parish Council now opposed development on Pincents Hill and hoped this new community unity would help fight off Blue Living, warning that "the fight isn't over yet."

West Reading parliamentary candidates Alok Sharma (Conservative) and Naz Sarkar (Labour were also on hand to show their support for residents as they tried to help their election bids.

Current Labour Reading West MP Martin Salter had blamed Conservative councillors in West Berkshire for not excluding the site from areas with the potential for development, and Naz Sarkar repeated the partisan attack, calling his opponent Alok Sharma an 'apologist' for a party which wants to dump on Reading.

Meanwhile Birch Copse's Cllr Joe Mooney (Con) expressed concern that he wasn't able to speak at the meeting to explain why he voted in favour of the plans to allow development and "to show... active support for real local democracy in action."

Elsewhere Tilehurst borough councillor Ricky Duveen excused himself from the petty wrangling and expressed his suspicion that the reasons why the planning application was submitted over the summer was to try to dampen the public outcry.

Another Public Meeting will be held in the main hall of Little Heath School on September 1st.

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Update: Holybrook Parish councillors have also formally objected to the plans.
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History: Political dispute; Housing in Kennet Valley; Planning application lodged
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