Village homes preferred over offices

The secretary of state has granted planning permission for 350 homes and apartments at former gravel workings near a Berkshire village after deciding that the scheme would make a significant and high-quality contribution to housing supply in the area.

The secretary of state agreed with the inspector that the proposal's design was well-judged, coherent and attractive. She also accepted that the site's proximity to public transport services and village centre facilities indicated that it would be appropriate to seek a relatively high density of development.

She recognised that the scheme's overall appearance would be quite different from that of the neighbouring residential area, giving the built-up part of the appeal site a largely urban character compared with the low-density, suburban nature of local developments. She also appreciated that the proposal would appear as an unusually dense node of development on the edge of the built-up area, overlooking open countryside.

However, she took into account the inspector's comparison between the proposal and a permitted scheme comprising office blocks. She agreed with him that the scheme would have a considerably better relationship with the character of existing development in the village. She considered the landscape impact acceptable and was satisfied that the scheme would make adequate provision for open space and affordable housing.

DCS Number 100-050-504

Inspector Roger Clews; Inquiry.

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