Agenda item

PS 20/00573/FUL Land South Of Allotment Gardens and East Of Downshire Driving Range, South Road, Wokingham, Berkshire

Erection of new gymnastics centre with associated car parking, cycle storage, access and landscaping.


Erection of new gymnastics centre with associated car parking, cycle storage, access and landscaping


The Committee noted:

·         The supplementary report tabled at the meeting.

·         That Bracknell Town Council recommended refusal.

·         A total of 1237 representations had been received. 320 of these representations were in support of the application, with the remaining objecting to the application.

·         A petition objecting to the proposal had been received containing 22 signatures.

·         The representations from 2 public speakers who joined the meeting.


RESOLVED that the application be REFUSED for the following reasons:-


01.       The proposed development would be situated on land outside of a defined

settlement and the site has not been allocated in the Site Allocations Local

Plan. It would have an adverse impact on the character, appearance and

function of this land as open space of public value and it has not been

demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority that there are

no suitable preferable locations, including within a town centre or edge of

town centre location. The proposed location has therefore not been justified,

and the proposal is contrary to policies CS1, CS2, and CS9 of CSDPD,

policies EN8 and R7 of the BFBLP, and the NPPF.


02        The proposal would result in the loss of existing open space at Great Hollands Recreational Park which is not proposed to be replaced. Whilst alternative sports and recreational provision is proposed, it has not been demonstrated that the benefits of the proposed development would clearly outweigh the loss of the current use.  As outlined in the Bracknell Forest Open Space and Sports Study (August 2017), the site clearly serves its purpose as an open space that provides for sports and recreation. The proposal is therefore contrary to policy CS8 of CSDPD, 'Saved' policy EN8 of the BFBLP,  policy EV3 of the Bracknell Town Neighbourhood Plan and the NPPF.


03.       The proposed development, by virtue of its proposed scale, siting and

prominence, as well as the loss of the existing trees subject to a TPO, would

have a harmful urbanising impact on the character and appearance of this

outside of settlement/countryside location, and would be contrary to 'Saved'

policies EN8 and EN20 of the BFBLP, Policies CS7 and CS9 of CSDPD and the NPPF, which seek to protect the character and appearance of land situated outside of a settlement.


04.       The application would require the removal of significant number of trees within a woodland area protected by TPOs which would result in loss of woodland priority habitat in conflict with the purposes of its conservation as a Habitat of Principal Importance under the NERC Act 2006. This would also result in a reduction of green infrastructure that would reduce the resilience of the ecological network at this location. The proposal is therefore contrary to policies EN1, EN3, EN8 & EN20 of the BFBLP and contrary to the NPPF.


05.       The application does not demonstrate that it would achieve protection and long term conservation of Species of Principal Importance that are also protected species in line with the NERC Act 2006, Standing Advice from Natural England, saved BFBLP policy EN1 and CSDPD policies CS1 and CS7.


06.       The application does not demonstrate that it would protect or achieve net gain for biodiversity in line with the NPPF, CSDPD policies CS1 and CS7.


07.       The proposal, by reason of inadequate access, inadequate provisions for the

efficient delivery of goods and access by service and emergency vehicles and

inadequate parking, would give rise to highway safety issues and over-spill

parking which would be contrary to policy M9 of the BFBLP and the NPPF.


08.       The application fails to secure a Travel Plan which is required for a development of this scale, contrary to CSDPD policy CS23 supported by the paras. 108 and 111 of the NPPF and the Planning Obligations SPD

Supporting documents: