John Short, Partner at Haslams Chartered Surveyors and agent for The University of Reading, is a pivotal advisor behind blueprints proposing a development of 1,350 homes in Shinfield. During the recent five week Public Planning Inquiry to determine whether or not the application will be given the go-ahead, John said the team is “collectively committed” to the delivery of the development.
Wokingham Borough Council had failed to determine the University’s three applications within the statutory 16-week time frame and as a result the University requested that an independent Government Inspector be appointed to make the final decision on the applications; the development of new homes, a relief road east of the village and a country park in Hyde End Road.
Wokingham Borough Council has said subsequently that it would have dismissed the applications as it considered the applications failed to address the possibility of flood risk adequately and the plans for the relief road were considered to be unsatisfactory. The Council has used these arguments in defence of its decision to oppose the applications during the Public Inquiry.
Council executives also argue that paperwork within its Core Strategy (which proposes where 13,200 additional new homes and related infrastructure will be built throughout the borough by 2026) has allocated 750 dwellings on this particular site. The Core Strategy proposes the development of 2,500 homes on land within the South of the M4 Strategic Development Location, and the University owned Shinfield site falls within that category.
During the hearing on November 4th, John’s evidence explained that he believes, if the Inspector passes the plans, it is the University’s intention to “wrap the whole package up and sell it as a single lot”.
John also mentioned that Tesco and Waitrose have both enquired about supermarket plans for the development, even though the appointed team have not actively marketed the provision at this stage. In addition, John confirmed the University is fully committed to providing the necessary infrastructure required to support the development commenting that “we are collectively committed to the delivery of the infrastructure at West Shinfield”.
John explained that “The Council has put together four Strategic Development Locations two of which are urban extensions of Wokingham and one which you could say is a new settlement at Arborfield Garrison. The south of the M4 location is a different animal as it is the expansion of three villages (those being Shinfeld, Spencers Wood and Three Mile Cross).”
BSc (Est Man) FRICS