On the 6th May 2022, the (then) Secretary of State for Levelling-up Housing and Communities allowed the Appeal pursued by Bloor Homes and Sandleford Farm Partnership for 1080 new homes at Sandleford Park in Newbury.
The decision letter can be viewed here.
Sandleford Park is allocated in the West Berkshire Core Strategy, adopted in 2012. The Council prepared Supplementary Planning Guidance in 2015 setting out a series of development principles.
These policy documents framed the Applicants’ development proposals, which had been the subject of earlier planning applications in 2015 and 2018. Ostensibly, despite joint working with the Council and the adjoining landowner, the Applicants could not persuade the Council that is should grant planning permission for what is the substantial part of the allocated site.
In May 2020, just as the pandemic took hold, the Applicants submitted a further application that took in to account the changes discussed with the Council, consultees and the amendments to the application submitted by the adjoining landowner.
On this occasion the decision of the Local Planning Authority to refuse the application in October 2020 was appealed and a four-week public inquiry was held virtually in May 2021.
After a number of requests for representations by the Secretary of State concerning the use of planning conditions as opposed to an obligation to secure the design, laying out and long term management of the proposed country park, the decision was issued on the 6th May 2022. The Inspector had recommended the Appeal be allowed and the Secretary of State agreed for the reasons given.
Owen Jones has advised Bloor Homes in respect of Sandleford Park since 2014 and acted on behalf of the Appellants during the course of the Appeal and gave evidence at the Inquiry on matters relating to affordable housing, education, planning, planning obligations and conditions. Kate Coventry co-ordinated the submission of the Appeal and the management of the Inquiry for the Appellants.