Agenda and draft minutes

Planning Committee - Wednesday, 12th January, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN. View directions

Contact: Callum Wernham  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist


No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were submitted from Councillors Gary Cowan and Rebecca Margetts.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 321 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 8 December 2021


Additional documents:


The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 8 December 2021 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Declaration of Interest

To receive any declaration of interest



Bill Soane stated that he had listed item number 69, application number 213520, as residents have raised concerns regarding access to and from the proposed development site. Bill added that he had an open mind with regards to the proposal and would consider it purely based on its planning merits, what is said at the Committee meeting by the parties and by the members of the Planning Committee.


Andrew Mickleburgh stated that Earley Town Council’s Planning Committee had considered item number 70, application number 213457, who had made a recommendation of refusal. Andrew added that he had not taken any part in that particular discussion or vote, and had not formed a view with regards to this application.


Applications to be Deferred and Withdrawn items

To consider any recommendations to defer applications from the schedule and to note any applications that may have been withdrawn.


No applications were recommended for deferral, or withdrawn.


Application No.203544 - Land to the West of St Annes Drive and South of London Road, Wokingham, RG40 1PB

Recommendation: To agree the additional standard reasons for refusal

Additional documents:


Proposal: Full application for the proposed erection of 54 units (including 19 affordable homes) with associated access road from St Anne’s Drive, landscaping and open space.


Applicant: Beaulieu Homes


The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in supplementary agenda pages 3 to 4.


The Committee were advised that there were no updates contained within the Supplementary Planning Agenda.


Peter Dennis, Ward Member, commented on the item. Peter stated that the minutes of the previous meeting made note of impact on the visual amenity should the proposals go ahead, and Peter felt that this should be reflected in the reasons for refusal. Peter added that this area was indicated as greenspace within the Southern Development Land Opportunity, which went against the principle of the SDL.


Joanna Carter, case officer, stated that one of the agreed reasons for refusal stated that the adverse impact on protected trees and the loss thereof would also lead to the adverse impact on the visual amenity of the green route and the local area.


RESOLVED That the additional reasons for refusal as set out on page 4 of the supplementary agenda be agreed.


Application No: 212350 - The Sapphire Centre, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QL pdf icon PDF 323 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval subject to legal agreement

Additional documents:


Proposal: Full application for the proposed erection of a new 3No storey commercial building following partial demolition of existing building and reconfiguration of site to include additional parking


Applicant: Apacor Ltd


The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 17 to 56.


The Committee were advised that updates contained within the Supplementary Planning Agenda included:


·           Amendment to condition 12;

·           Updated paragraph 30 in relation to car parking.


Tom Sadler, on behalf of the applicant, spoke in support of the application. Tom stated that the applicant was the owner and occupier of the premises, and manufactured a range of diagnostic equipment which were key in the fight against Covid-19. Tom added that the company was at critical capacity and required additional space in order to increase production capabilities. Tom stated that the proposals were in accordance with planning policy, and the quicker the extension works could be carried out the better outcome for everybody.


Carl Doran queried whether any additional jobs would be created or lost as a result of the proposals, and queried the height of the surrounding buildings. Baldeep Pulahi, case officer, stated that there were no proposed changes to the numbers of full time equivalent staff. Baldeep added that given the context and location of the area, the increase in building height of the proposal would not be a detriment to the surrounding area.


Andrew Mickleburgh queried where the intended entry and exit points would be located as this may have implication on the location on the bin storage area, in order to allow refuse vehicles to be able to exit the site without the need to reverse onto Fishponds Road. Baldeep Pulahi confirmed that the bin storage was secured by condition, and the final location had not been finalised and the ease of collection would be a consideration when deciding this. Chris Easton, Head of Transport, Drainage, and Compliance, stated that some swept path analysis had been provided, and the site would be serviced via a private refuse collection service. Chris added that the likely location would not be too dissimilar to now, and the refuse vehicles currently reversed into the site.


Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey queried how many local apprentices would be employed at the site. Baldeep Pulahi stated that these details would be secured by the employment skills plan.


Angus Ross queried why the proposals included an additional 27 car parking spaces whilst staff numbers were not proposed to increase. Chris Easton stated that the proposed increase in car parking spaces complied with the typical use for a B2 use case. Tom Sadler commented that the proposals would not lead to any loss of staff, and there were possibilities to increase staffing number once the expansion had been approved and completed. Tom added that the additional car parking space would future proof the site.


Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey commented that she was pleased to see the site being retained as an employment space.


Stephen Conway commented that he was not in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.


Application No.213520 - 99 Colemans Moor Road, Woodley pdf icon PDF 817 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval

Additional documents:


Proposal: Full application for the proposed erection of 2 no. three bedroom dwellings with associated parking, following demolition of the existing dwellinghouse.


Applicant: David and Carol Row


The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 57 to 92.


The Committee were advised that there were no updates contained within the Supplementary Planning Agenda.


Andy McKinnon, resident, spoke in objection to the application. Andy stated that the road where access was proposed was not adopted, and residents paid for the upkeep of the road. Andy added that there was no footpath to the property as shown within the planning documentation, where a grassed area was situated. Andy stated that residents’ main objection was in relation to the increased construction traffic which had never been planned for in addition to increased vehicle movements via the creation of two properties which could accommodate 5 vehicles.


BaldeepPulahi, case officer, commented that condition 4 required a construction management plan in the event of approval of the application.


Bill Soane stated that construction vehicles parked on Colemans Moor Road during the development at the rear which had caused chaos, and residents feared that this may continue with the approval of this application. Bill added that the bus stop had been moved during the construction phase of the development to the rear of the application, and queried whether this could occur should approval be granted for this application. Bill queried how construction vehicles would access the proposed site. Chris Easton, Head of Transport, Drainage and, Compliance, stated that the development to the rear was much larger in scale which resulted in the bus stop being temporarily relocated. Chris stated that rights of access to the private road was a civil matter, and added that construction management was secured by condition.


Pauline Jorgensen queried whether there was any significance to the 3rd room being classed as a study rather than as a bedroom. Baldeep Pulahi stated that all rooms including the study met space requirements for a bedroom, and it was not reasonable to condition the room to be kept as a study. Baldeep added that the scheme in front of the Committee was based off of the plans as submitted. Connor Corrigan, Service Manager – Planning and Delivery, stated that the studies could be converted into a bedroom, and the properties had sufficient car parking to meet the standards should the applicant or future owners wish to do so.


Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey suggested that the future owners strongly consider joining the association to contribute to the upkeep of the road, should the application be approved.


Stephen Conway commented that the planning application was for two dwellings, and access to a private road was a civil matter. Stephen added that the Committee had to judge the application based on its planning merits.


Andrew Mickleburgh queried whether Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) could be challenged by the owners of the private road for granting planning permission where access was not controlled  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.


Application No.213457 - Liberty House, Strand Way, Lower Earley pdf icon PDF 774 KB

Recommendation: Conditional approval subject to legal agreement

Additional documents:


Proposal: Full planning permission for the erection of three 2No storey buildings each comprising of six apartments (18 in total), together with associated ancillary development, hardstanding, landscaping and footpaths


Applicant: Mrs Kate Bessant


The Committee considered a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 93 to 140.


The Committee were advised that updates contained within the Supplementary Planning Agenda included:


·           Correction to the expiry date to read 17 January 2022;

·           Detailed clarification in relation to the proposal seeking 6 of the 18 units as affordable, rather than the 100 percent mentioned within the report;

·           Amendment to part A of the recommendation to delete the reference to 100 percent affordable housing.


Alf Wojtasz, neighbour, spoke in objection to the application. Alf stated that there were a total of 16 objections from residents living in proximity of the proposed development in addition to an objection lodged by Earley Town Council, whilst there were no submissions of support. Alf was of the opinion that the designs were out of character and the stylistic context did not resemble the existing housing stock in the local area or that of Liberty House. Alf added that the roof designs were of cross gable design and not box gable design like other houses locally. Alf added that Liberty of Earley House was a purpose built house for multiple occupation, and was of the opinion that the new development resembled houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) and not a home such as Liberty of Earley House. Alf stated that the proposals were inconsistent with the housing stock in the area, however local residents would accept a single building but not multiple HMOs. Alf felt that the two new access points proposed on an S-bend presented traffic hazards and traffic risks onto Strand Way, and was out of keeping as no other house on the road had a driveway opposite another driveway across the road. Alf stated that the S-bend on the road was a blind spot after Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) granted planning permission for number 20 to move the fence to the pavement line, which residents objected to, and residents had also suggested that car parking was provided at the rear of the proposed development and an internal roadway be created from the existing Liberty of Earley House access point on Strand Way. Alf was of the opinion that the proposal would introduce unwanted traffic and safety issues on this S-bend. Alf stated that some residents of Liberty of Earley House parked on Strand Way as some of the occupants owned two vehicles, and there was no guarantee that the proposals would not lead to additional on road parking in front of existing driveways. Alf stated that no considerations had been given to net zero, COP 26, or WBC’s ‘let’s talk climate’ project, whilst no electric vehicle charging points were proposed and the roof design would not allow for photovoltaic panel installation. Alf stated that additional light pollution as a result of the proposals would directly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.