Brunel site: Not enough parking
Englefield Green: Worries raised as revised housing plans submitted
UPDATED plans to redevelop parts of the former Brunel University site in Englefield Green have been submitted.
A consultation on the plans has now ended after an exhibition was presented at the Village Centre detailing the developer’s changes to the application, originally granted in June 2012.
The most recent application includes an increase in homes, from 56 to 63, as part of a larger masterplan that includes 59 care home rooms, 528 student units and 104 homes, 28 of which will be affordable housing.
Changes also include an extra apartment in the chapel via a mezzanine.
After villagers raised concerns over an increase in traffic, during the construction phase and when the homes become habitable, parking bays included in the development have increased by 10, providing two spaces for each dwelling.
A total of 16 spaces for visitors are also included in the latest application.
David Humphrey, 60, who lives in Cooper’s Hill Lane, said it was hard to imagine the effect the development would have on the road.
“It’s going to have a significant impact on the number of people in Englefield Green,” he said.
“They did take into account our concerns that there should only be one entrance to the site.
“It’s been agreed that there will be the main access but to the affordable housing area, there will be a separate entrance.
“Our concern is that Cooper’s Hill Lane will be used for people to park in. There are no parking restrictions.”
Mr Humphrey said demolition work had restarted on the site, following a quiet period.
In a joint letter of objection to the council, Dr Janet Ferstl-Jones and Dr Martin Ferstl of Hollycombe suggested that rather than increasing the number of properties on site, the developer should look at reducing the impact of congestion in the area.
With 40 parking spaces allocated for the 59 care homes and two spaces for each four and five-bedroom home, their letter states this is unrealistic.
“We fear that it will further exacerbate what promises to be a development that has too few parking spaces, such that the cars will spill out into a conservation area which is ill-equipped to handle it,” the couple’s letter states.
Having attended the public meeting organised by Art Estates, they added: “They were very willing to blame the council for the lack of parking places.
“They said they were not allowed to provide more as this would exceed the footprint they were allowed to build on.
“They neglected to mention, of course, that one way around this is for them not to build so many houses, and so allow some of the footprint to be made available for parking.”
The couple added: “Once the development is complete, there will also be more than 700 additional people and cars jostling for space. Surely the council cannot expose all of these people to the danger of walking on roads while the pavements and edges are parked on, which also will decrease the visibility.”