The Dunn family wanted to extend the 12-pitch site near Aborfield Garrison
Plans to station 16 caravans in a countryside spot on the outskirts of Arborfield Garrison have been refused.
Leslie and Debbie Dunn wanted the additional pitches at The Copse in Eversley Road to help deal with a shortfall of affordable homes in the area.
The extended Dunn family already has 12 gypsy and traveller pitches on their 1.34 hectare site, but they asked Wokingham Borough Council for planning permission to house more pitches.
Matthew Green from Green Planning Solutions – an agent working on behalf of the applicants – said in his planning statement: “The mobile homes do and will provide accommodation significantly more affordable than private rented bricks and mortar accommodation in the area.
“Most of the occupants in the mobile homes would struggle to afford accommodation in the area other than social housing, for which there is a significant shortage.”
The Copse lies around 145m from the edge of Arborfield Garrison, which has been identified as one of the four strategic development locations which are intended to deliver 3,500 new homes, the bulk of Wokingham’s housing need over the period to 2026.
The first of two applications to re-develop the site is under consideration and around 35% of the new homes are expected to be affordable, comprising three-, four- and five-bedroom properties.
The council received five letters of objection to the caravan proposal from people living close to The Copse.
The site is bounded to the north east by existing Gypsy and traveller sites known as Highfield Park and Walkers Yard and there is a further site adjoining Highfield Park which is under application for additional Gypsy and traveller pitches.
Neil Montgomery, of Rayner Drive, Arborfield, said the new plots would ‘further encroach on the green area to the west of the Arborfield area’, adding: “The area is not designed for housing.”
Jeffrey Hopkins, of Lodge Road, Hurst, added: “In my opinion this green field site should not be used for residences of any kind. It destroys the rural nature of the area and if allowed will set a precedent for continued development in the area.”
The council refused permission on August 30.
Clare Lawrence, head of development management at the council, said the mobile homes would ‘comprise an inappropriate form of development within the countryside and outside the settlement of Arborfield’ which would adversely affect its character and function to provide green space and separation between settlements.
She said the site was not an allocated or reserved housing site in the adopted development plan and the council could clearly demonstrate a robust and deliverable housing supply for the borough until 2026.
The application was also refused on the grounds that it would visually intrude on the quality and character of the countryside.
It ‘failed to provide’ satisfactory details in terms of adequate infrastructure, services, community and other facilities required in a development and inadequate details had been submitted in respect of housing mix and affordability.