Letter from The Right Honourable Alok Sharma MP
URGENT – ADDITIONAL DRAWINGS/AMENDED PLANS SUBMITTED TO WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL FOR PINCENTS HILL DEVELOPMENT
Once again, I am writing to you regarding potential development on Pincents Hill.
I have been informed that U+I and TOWN have submitted additional information for their planning application for the Pincents Hill site, application ref: 19/00113/OUTMAJ.
These documents can be found here: http://planning.westberks.gov.uk/rpp/index.asp?caseref=19/00113/OUTMAJ
Should you wish to comment on these additional information, you now have until Tuesday 16th February 2021 to submit your comments to West Berkshire Council.
If you want to see Pincents Hill retained as a valuable local amenity, you will, once again, need to make your views clear to West Berkshire Council.
Anyone can register their views with West Berkshire Council by submitting comments, quoting planning application no 19/00113/OUTMAJ, via the Council’s online Public Access system or emailing email@example.com.
West Berkshire Council’s guide to making a representation can be found here and the Council’s Personal Data Disclaimer can be found here.
Whatever your views, please register them with West Berkshire Council, so local voices can be heard loud and clear.
Some people have been criticising our MP for his tardy reply. This was unavoidable as he was, I believe, out of the country on ministerial duties for the UK. Alok has always been a staunch supporter in our fight to save Pincents Hill, even going so far as to march around the streets of Calcot and Tilehurst delivering leaflets on our behalf. His help and support has been invaluable. We are a non political organisation and was originally formed with Martin Salter and Niki Sealey in 2008. Even the Liberal Democrats also delivered leaflets for us, so on one front and perhaps for the only time all parties were united to fight this. A big thank you to our past and present MPs - your help is much appreciated.
If anyone has any queries concerning this development that you think the Group can answer, please if you can submit these through the facebook site and we will come back to you as soon as possible.
Representations may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by letter to the Head of Development and Planning, Council Offices, Market Street, NewburyRG14 5LD.
It is understood that the date for the Planning Committe to decide the planning application will possibly be rushed through for 10th March 2021. Once the actual date is definitely confirmed, we will update this website.
Below is a formatted page with all the details needed for both the postal and e-mail address. However it will be slightly different this time. A criticism was made at the last appeal that already formatted etters were more like a petition which do not carry as much weight as original letters, so a list of reasons for objection will be shown separately and there will be others that are not listed that people may wish to use. Also we understand that if we emphasize that this development is against West Berkshires own policies that will have an even greater impact. The only one the writer has found so far is Policy C1. Which is against development in the countryside.
However, the site was not allocated in the Local Development Plan, and the National Planning Policy Framework (19th February 2019) states "the planning system should be genuinely plan-lead" and that planning applications requiring planning permission "be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise". There are none that we are aware of, other than perhaps the pressure on West Berks to ensure Government figures on County Councils to fulfill the requisite housing needs. However, it is up to the Council where to build and it is not written by the Government that Pincents Hill should be their selected site.
TOWN has submitted alterations/amendments to their Planning Application and it is specifically on these matters that West Berks is seeking people's views basically on criticisms or concerns. Although I don't think it will hurt to criticise or support the application if that is what you would like to do, it shows the residents feelings.
The writer would like to state that the Groups are not opposed to the building of new homes, however we do think that this is an inappropriate site for development. This piece of land once formed part of 1,000 acres of common land and only Prospect Park, Pincents Hill and Armour Road Allotments (if they still exist) remain. This open space is a valued recreation area especially in this day and age where gardens are getting more and more pocket hankychief size and people who live in flats have access to it. It is a valued asset especially with Covid.
West Berks would seem to tacitly recognise that this area should not be built on as this site was not included in West Berks DPD, the writer would suggest the reasoning behind this is that this area is outside the settlement area and forms a strategic gap between Tilehurst, Calcot and Theale. The Inspector said it was a matter of key concern at the public enquiry in 2017 and matters raised at public enquiries also form background information at any other appeals/enquiries.TOWN's statement in their Executive Summary of their Amended Proposals stated that the only reason this application did not get through was because at that time IKEA's proposed opening and the traffic flows were not known and so their application was put on hold. Not so there were other reasons too. West Berks Highways Department stated that in principle Pincents Lane could cope traffwise but IKEA's car park caused the problems, but the writer also thinks that the volume of traffic didn't help either.
Trafficwise, from the various 5 developments that either have been passed or proposed there would be a figure of nearly 900 homes to be built in Tilehurst, Holybrook and Theale. So realistically an holistic approach should be taken for the true impact on traffic in the area.
The writer has received many requests as to where to find the information about this development. You can view this on West Berkshire Planning, click on Planning, then simple search. Then there is a tab that says STATUS (at the moment it will say all) click on that and it will come up with 2 options, click on current.
It will then say enter Keyword, etc
Either type in: Land at East of Pincents Lane (or)
a new screen will come up and at the top of the new page you will see various options typed in green - click on documents and it will come up with "view associated documents" it will take a little while (as there is a lengthy list to come up) and every public document with this case will come up even letters opposing the development as well as those supporting it.
Head of Development and Planning,
Planning and Countryside,
West Berkshire Council
Berkshire RG14 5LD
Re: Case No: 19/00113/OUTMAJ - Land at East of Pincents Lane
I object to original application and the recently posted amendments for the
Tuesday November 2nd November 2018
Update on TOWN's proposal for development on Pincents Hill
The writers' apologies for the delay in updating this website but I was waiting for the final figure of dwellings to be submitted for a proposed planning application by TOWN. This is now confirmed as 265 dwellings in their scoping assessment to West Berkshire Council.
Although this is a much improved plan it is in the writers’ opinion not good enough for Tilehurst for the following reasons:-
It is development in the countryside which contravenes Policy C1.
It is not included in the Local Development Plan and the NPPF states that the system should be genuinely plan led and applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. We know of no such considerations to have been taken into account by West Berks concerning this planning application on this site.
The hill forms a strategic gap which still meets the criteria to do so which means it is outside the settlement area whereby there is a presumption against development,
It will, in spite of landscaping proposals, still impact on the AONB both with noise and light.
It is out of character with Pincents Manor and the nearby houses.
We object to Pincents Lane being used as an Emergency Accessway, as this is used by a good number of pedestrians, joggers, cyclists and horse riders and the idea of having high speed vehicles down the narrow winding dark lane is nonsensical. It is used more as a footpath rather than a road.
The density of housing is too great and in effect will have the same impact as a ghetto.
The traffic assessment has been carried out by the same firm that performed IKEA's assessment, the only reason that the figures are now what was predicted is because of the troubles with the traffic queues from the car park and many people are avoiding parking in the car park. Also the Group still has problems agreeing the traffic assessment.
West Berkshire has admitted that two of the schools in the area are full and another is nearing capacity. No definite proposals by West Berks to improve provision other than saying that they anticipate the CIL monies from the developer will assist.
There could well be an issue over one access and exit road from the development. Also adding to the access and exit from the Sainsbury's roundabout which at peak times is saturated.
Most people are experiencing problems and/or delays with doctors' appointments. Although TOWN says it will supply a building that could be used as a medical facility the NHS has said it is not willing to take this up.
The hill’s history alone should be a reason for non development. This land and most of Tilehurst, in the not too distant past, was common land and common land to the writer’s understanding is protected and should never be built on. All that is left of 1,000 acres of this common land is Prospect Park, the Armour Road allotments and Pincents Hill. The old saying – 2 wrongs don’t make a right.
The Highways Authority has said that Junction 12 forms part of the busiest section of the M4 into London so, in order to alleviate the problem it is being made into a smart motorway. So add the traffic flows from another 5 developments in the area and it doesn’t need brains to see that the resulting extra car journeys will place a strain on the existing roads and motorway.
So this development and any other in the area would not be sustainable as we do not have the infrastructure to support any more development.
Tuesday September 18th September 2018
New development of 285 homes proposed for Pincents Hill
The owners of the land TOWN and its partner U-1 are holding a series of exhibitions showing their proposal to develop this site.
The plan is for 285 homes on a much smaller area of the hill than before with a 19 acre area of public open space as a park/village green to be kept as open space in perpetuity which means it can never be built on. The access to the site will be from the lower end of Pincents Lane with no through road from the new development to the North of the site to Little Heath Road, City Road, etc.
If you would like to see the plans and have your say on any problems or suggestions then there are to be public exhibitions at
The Calcot Centre, Highview, Calcot, Reading, RG31 4XD
on the following days:
Thursday 20th September: 2-8pm
Friday 21st September: 2-7pm
Saturday 22nd September: 11am-2pm
Members of the project team will be available to answer question with breakout areas for those who would like an opportunity for detailed discussion on any aspects of the proposal.
The writer has a number of concerns mainly as to the visual impact of any development on the hill, the access to the site with the lack of services to support any more development to this part of West Berkshire. However, will withhold judgement until consultations are complete.
Turnharms Farm (Pincents Hill)
DPD reference EUA007
Pincents Hill has a softening approach to the AONB and is a well recognised landmark for Tilehurst. The Anglo Saxons gave it its current name (Tigel – Tile and Hurst – wooded hill), so it is the wooded hill where tiles were made from approx 450 a.d. this hill gave the area its name. There is no central hub to the part of Tilehurst that comes under the Parish of Tilehurst and this hill gives the area a sense of place. It has been well used for recreation purposes, it forms a gap between the settlements of Calcot, Tilehurst and Theale and forms a break in concrete sprawl. It is unspoilt and natural, supporting a large number of badger sets, foxes, etc, the last large green area left in Tilehurst
DPD reference: EUA0033
Within the AONB, the field that runs behind Blackthorn Close and alongside the rural end of Long Lane is currently used for grazing (as you can see in our pic). The field is lined on two sides with hedgerows, and on the Long Lane edge with trees, some of which are covered by preservation orders.
DPD reference: EUA0031
Clements Mead field is large open space that sits between Hall Place Stables and Clements Mead. It runs alongside the Cornwell Centre site and the playing field which is constantly used by dog walkers and local children. It is one of the few visible open spaces on this side of Tilehurst and contributes to the open feeling of the neighbouring area.
DPD reference: EAU003 & EUA008
The site at Stoneham's Farm is within the AONB and opens onto the stretch of countryside that separates the eastern edge of Tilehurst from Pangbourne and Tidmarsh. The site has long been the starting point for country walks not only for local residents, but for people who come from all over the area to enjoy the open rural space.
DPD reference: EAU032
The Meadowside Field site sits between Barefoot and Cornwell Copse, with Sulham Lane on one side and the houses at Meadowside on the other. The site is currently used for grazing, and is an essential green buffer between existing development and the rural roadway. EUA032 is currently not on the WBC DPD but has been submitted as a viable option by Darcliffe Homes and as a result is part of the KTG campaign.
West Berks Council has now said that the date for the DPD decision is 5th November at St. Bartholomew's School, Newbury. We tried to get the venue changed by saying there will probably be 200-300 people from Tilehurst wishing to attend and would it be possible to have a more local venue. However it s not just an Eastern Area decision it is also affects areas to the West. However, as it is apparently not written in stone and has already been changed twice and may possibly change again, the website will be upgraded to keep you informed of any changes either to the date or venue. We have asked our councillors to see if the meeting that will state which areas are to be included in the DPD could perhaps be split into two dates, one for the western area and another for the eastern area, with only the information that is relevant to each to be made known to the relevant meeting.
West Berks has said that the DPD decision date has been put back to late Autumn, probably October. Then there is the six week statutory consultation period to receive letters of objection, after which the Council prepares a resume of the replies and forwards that on to the Inspector for the final decision.
I asked why two lots of letters were required, one before the DPD and one after. The first was an unofficial consultation period, the second is the more important one to be submitted in precis to the Inspector. This should clear up any misunderstanding.
Have no doubt this will be the biggest battle to save Pincents Hill against development that we have yet faced and if there are any people willing to help with distribution and collection of letters of objection even just to do the street that you live in, it would be a great help. Beyond Green have already suggested two sites for development on the Hill and these are shown on the SHLAA maps, so if they are included in the DPD they will be ready to apply for Outline Planning Consent. However is it not just these two sites that the red line for Outline Planning is shown, but it is drawn to include the entirety of the Hill.
There are four other sites that have been suggested for possible development and please also if you have concerns then please support them too. However the group believes that the loss of the Hill as a gap between settlements, preserving the identity of the area, the extra traffic and the loss of the softening approach to the AONB would change the character of the area irreparably.
As most of you will be aware, but for those who are not, West Berks Council has postponed the decision to select the sites to be developed for housing ("the Development Plan Document - DPD") until we believe the 16th September. We are hoping that all the reasons put forward in the objection letters will prevent its inclusion in the DPD. However, if this is not the case, this will be the biggest fight that we will ever have to face to protect this site and we will need all the help we can get. A big "thank you" to everyone who helped and/or wrote in, you have been absolutely fantastic in the way you have all rallied round and we hope that if the need arises we can count on you yet again. We will organise a public meeting if Pincents Hill should unfortunately be named in the DPD.
There is a new initiative called the
Tilehurst Parish Neighbourhood Plan
With apologies to Peter Cross for stealing the information from his e-mail:
This has been mainly set up by members of the Keep Tilehurst Green organisation with the addition of Julia Gentle and the writer Joan, but we need more imput and help from the residents of the Birch Copse Ward. We need to know what is needed in the area, services, amenities, etc, how you envisage these needs developing and help with gathering information and data. If you are interested in the future of the Birch Copse Ward, then please come to the next meeting on TUESDAY 16 JUNE at the CALCOT CENTRE, Highview, Calcot RG31 4XD ay 7.30pm. and thereafter every first Tuesday of each month, again in the Calcot Centre even if just to hear your views on the subject.
The objectives of the next meeting are to hopefully select or appoint a small Steering Group to manage the Plan and to agree on the Constitution - which will then allow us to make real progress on the Plan itself. We also need to consider the most effective ways of spreading the word of the Neighbourhood Plan across the parish before the necessary consultation rounds begin; not just residents but local businesses, schools and social and religious institutions
If you know anyone else who may be interested in joining the team, please feel free to invite them to come along. I do hope that most, if not all of you can join us on the 16 June; the anticipated workload isn't too high at this stage - but we do need a hard core of volunteers. If interested, please either contact me via the link of Peter on email@example.com
With thanks and kind regards,
for the Tilehurst Parish Neighbourhood Plan
Anthony Chadley elected as Councillor in May elections and has stepped down as Vice Chair to the Group.
Anthony Chadley to stand as Councillor in May elections
Read the announcement
A message from Joan Lawrie
West Berkshire confirmed that the DPD process would be delayed until at least May 2015 so all responses and issues can be addressed. Copies of the letters sent by Joan Lawrie and Anthony Chadley, co-chairs of the Save Pincents Hill campaign can be read in the download area.
To try and ensure that any future developments in ALL of Tilehurst is sustainable and suitable for our area, Tilehurst Parish Council are trying to implement a Neighbourhood Plan, although this process may take 2-3 years to implement it will secure planning decisions suitable for our area. If you are interested in helping then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A good article on the process can be read on our friends and local objectors website www.keeptilehurstgreen.com (click on the link at the bottom of the "thank you" article)
Due to the overwhelming response in the consultation, created by nearly 4500 objectors from Tilehurst (out of a total of 6800) West Berkshire Council have been forced to delay the process to take count of the points raised.
To ensure the number of objectors are not ignored we have sent an open letter to the councillors pointing out the proportion of Tilehurst residents who made up the totals.
A copy of the letter can be read here;
During August and up to 12th September, West Berks held their consultation on the DPD. If West Berks get their way then Pincents Hill will be included within their housing plan and will ensure a development will go ahead. A good local response resulted in an overwhelming rejection of this plan, with some excellent technical arguments and passionat objections.
A result on wether Pincents Hill is excluded is not expected until December.
West Berkshire have started the official consultation on the DPD, we are very concerned that Pincents Hill is listed as a "preferred site" and the resulting change in "Gap Policies" will mean that Theale, Calcot and Tilehurst will in effect merge. We will be reviewing all the information over the next few days and consulting with Alok Sharma to ensure our response is effective. Please keep checking the news, or become our friend on facebook to make sure you have the latest news.
The results of the survey sent out by Alok Sharma are now in, there were 721 surveys returned, which in itself is an exceptional response, of those 90% were against any development. This is a clear demonstration of local opinion, we now need to ensure this is carried forward in our fight to ensure Pincents Hill remains safe.
Alok's comments can be read on the "Get Reading" website
Alok Sharma, the MP for Reading West, has been a great defender of Pincents Hill. He has sent a letter and questionnaire to 3000 local residents asking for their opinion on what should happen in the future on Pincents Hill.
The survey is now available online via this link; Survey
We strongly recommend you tick the "no development box" and return it as requested. Our opinion is that once a development starts then it will just be a matter of time before it fills up Pincents Hill.
We hope Alok receives your questionnaire back, this will serve as a mandate for him to use his influence to block any development.
Please make sure you fill in and return your questionnaire, every one of them will count in helping to make Pincents Hill safe.
If you did not receive a questionnaire, then don't worry, there will be a method to record your opinion available within the next day or so. Please check back here, or join our facebook site - see the link below or on the home page.
We would like to thank the volunteers who, along with Alok and his team delivered the 3000 letters. If you would like to help in the future then please email us email@example.com
West Berkshire currently have included Pincents Hill in the draft Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA). This could be taken forward into the preferred sites in the Development Delivery Program (DPD) - please see FAQ page for further information.
At the moment Pincents Hill is outside the existing settlement area on which housing is allowed to be built, but this could be changed during the current process.
Please download and send the email objecting to development on Pincents Hill -
During the consultation period your voice matters! We will need you to write to, or email, West Berkshire Council and raise your objections and concerns. We have a template letter you can download in our DOWNLOAD AREA, but to really make your voice heard it is essential you personalise this as much as possible. We have listed many reasons to object to having Pincents Hill developed, but add your own, or take out ones you don't agree with. The important thing to do is change it so its from you rather than a standard letter. The impact of having hundreds of individual letters will be many, many times more useful than having the same letter delivered.
If you want to understand the process better, and have some of your questions answered then please visit our FAQ section.
We are now on Facebook
During the consultation period starting this June the Council will shortly be voting on the allocation of new housing sites (“SHLAA”). As stated above at the moment Pincents Hill is outside the existing settlement area on which housing is allowed to be built but this could be changed at this local development meeting should a majority of the Councilors vote to include Pincents Hill in the settlement area because of Government pressures. Could we please ask you to lobby your local Councilors to influence their decision and to let them know how you feel and also please could you take 5 minutes of your time to write to or email the Council at the address shown below (or on our Download Area) with some suggested reasons why this area should be excluded from the allocation for housing. Every letter counts, if you want to help stop this site being included as a possible development area.
Planning Policy Team
West Berkshire Council,
Planning and Countryside,
Newbury RG14 5LD
12 Grangely Close Calcot Reading Berkshire RG31 7DR
Home Tel:(0118) 942 0196
32 Kernham Drive Tilehurst Reading Berkshire RG31 6GB
Home Tel: (0118) 943 1148
5 Kettering Close Calcot Reading Berkshire RG31 7DF
Home Tel: (0118) 941 0835 Mobile: 07900 372323
7 Knollmead Calcot Reading Berkshire RG31 7DQ
Home Tel:(0118) 941 0724 Mobile: 07771617508
15 Childrey Way Tilehurst Reading Berkshire RG31 5EA
Home Tel:-(0118) 941 2649
12 Willow Tree Glade Calcot Reading RG31 7AZ
Home Tel: (0118) 941 1676
17 The Green Theale Reading Berkshire RG7 5DR
Work Tel: 01784 478371 Mobile: 07775 628108
39 Ullswater Drive Tilehurst Reading Berkshire RG31 6RS
Mobile: 0771 2858197