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Watermill Bridge

Bewley Homes have submitted a hybrid planning application (part outline application and part full application) for a new residential community on land at Common Farm, Wash Water Newbury.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) sheet has been prepared to address the main issues surrounding the application and the proposals. Click to view or download the FAQs Sheet (PDF 121KB).

The description of the proposed development is as follows:
A hybrid application for a mixed use community, comprising of:

  1. an outline planning application for up to 350 dwellings (Use Class C3) including dwellings for older people; a 1,600 square metre community building (Use Class F2(b)); a 1,200 square metre Health and Wellbeing Centre (Use Class E(e)) and a 250 square metre convenience store (Use Class F2(a)); demolition of Common Farm and associated agricultural buildings; the provision of open space, allotments, community gardens, a riverside park/nature trail, drainage attenuation, landscaping and associated infrastructure; and

  2. a full planning application for the first phase of residential development including 90 dwellings (Use Class C3), public open space, associated landscaping and infrastructure works. Full planning approval is also sought for access arrangements including a new vehicular access onto the Andover Road (A343).


Hybrid Illustrative Masterplan
Click to view or download the Watermill Bridge Hybrid Illustrative Masterplan (PDF 1.1MB)

Phase 1 Illustrative Masterplan
Click to view or download the Watermill Bridge Phase 1 Illustrative Masterplan (PDF 3.7MB)

The proposals will offer the following development benefits:

Development Benefits

Economic Considerations
  1. There are a number of new services being added to the area that will positively impact the local economic profile. Notably, the proposed creation of the café/convenience shop near the entrance of the Site will create employment opportunities, as well as providing services for local residents.
  2. The proposed development would also contribute to the provision of employment in the local area through the generation of construction jobs both on site and through the local supply chain. Using a metric from the Home Builders Federation¹, it is anticipated that around 878 direct construction jobs will be created as a result of the development. Additionally, a further 1,326 indirect and induced jobs will be created elsewhere in the supply chain.
  3. In addition to direct employment opportunities, the proposed development will also give rise to benefits such as local finance considerations, including revenues for the Council from New Homes Bonus and Council Tax.
  4. The proposals will be compliant with the Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), and will look to secure arrangements for services to neighbouring West Berkshire.

Social Considerations
Services and Facilities
  1. The proposed development will bring additional population to Wash Water and the wider catchment of Newbury, supporting established services and facilities.
  2. The proposals will include a 1,600m2 community hub in the centre of the development. This will be a flexible space, capable of hosting local community functions and supporting workstations as part of a live/work environment on the Site.
  3. A health and wellbeing building is proposed in the centre of the development. This will provide 1,200m2 of space for a GP surgery and other health services.
  4. A small (up to 250m2) convenience store is planned on the eastern parcel of the proposed development. Although this is principally anticipated to serve the Site, it will also serve to enhance the provision of local convenience retail in this area.
  5. The development includes proposals for the development of a dedicated cycle route, extending some 1.8km of the A434 from Wash Water into Newbury. This enhanced infrastructure will enable better access between the Site and Newbury, accessible by sustainable modes of transport.

Provision of Housing
  1. The proposed development proposes up to 350 new homes for the Borough of Basingstoke and Deane, including a detailed element of 90 dwellings. Led by Bewley as the master developer, there is certainty of early delivery to assist the Council in boosting significantly the supply of housing, and reducing shortfalls in the Council’s housing delivery.
  2. As part of the proposed development, 140 affordable houses will be delivered (40% of total) will be affordable housing units and first home units in line with Policy CN1. Additionally, there will also be the provision of older persons housing in the heart of the scheme.
  3. The 350 homes will be high quality and a mixture of densities, in order to meet current and future needs with a range of tenures. The delivery of market and affordable housing, contributes to the social role of sustainable development defined within national planning policy, supporting housing needs of present and future generations.
  4. All of the properties will be developed in accordance with the Government’s [optional] Nationally Described Space Standards (‘NDSS’), designed to M4(2) accessibility standards. In addition, the proposed development will commit to the conservation of water (110 litres per person daily) including utilising rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling across the site.

Provision of New Public Open Space and Opportunities for Play
  1. The proposals detail a net increase of 7.96ha of open space, comprised of both formal and informal amenity areas. This accounts for around 35% of the total Site area, exceeding the minimum requirement of 1.92ha is exceeded.
  2. The proposals will include a woodland play area, in addition to other enhancements such as community gardens and allotments; a riverside park; parkland; open space for play. In total, the proposals will lead to an increase of around 3km of walkways within the development.

Environmental Considerations
Low-Carbon Commitment
  1. The proposed development will be constructed to a high standard of energy efficiency, in accordance with the emerging ‘Future Homes’ standard, likely to be enforced from 2025. This includes the commitment to deliver the scheme with alternative heating solutions to conventional gas central heating. The first phase of the development is expected to see an average improvement of +95% carbon efficiency beyond the 2013 Building Regulations, a principle expected to be embodied across the remainder of the development.
  2. The housing for the open market will be designed with a high thermal efficiency and increased insulation. These ‘fabric first‘ measures will be dovetailed with a strategy for renewable generation to ensure that each property is equipped with either solar photovoltaic panels and/or air source heat pumps to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
  3. In respect of the affordable housing, the properties will be delivered in conjunction with Sovereign Housing, constructed using modular housing originally designed as Passivhaus but redesigned to create low carbon tenure blind homes.
  4. The proposed community hub in the centre of the development, whilst also constructed to high standards of energy efficiency, will utilise water from the brook running through the Site to power a waterwheel to generate electricity for the building.

Ecological Improvements
  1. The proposal can achieve a rate of 17% biodiversity net gain across the site and 27% across the surrounding area, exceeding the emerging Government standard of 10%.
  2. The proposed development will benefit from a carbon management system, involving a planned wetland and ecological pond, which has the potential to capture 20 tonnes of carbon a year.

Transport
  1. The proposals will commit to the construction of a new 1.8km cycleway from the Site into Newbury, offering a dedicated route separate to road traffic.
  2. To support the legacy of the cycle route, initiatives such as bike vouchers for each resident and cycle proficiency schemes will be undertaken, to encourage a greater uptake of cycling in the area, and a reduced reliance on the private car.
  3. For those who still wish to drive, the Applicant has committed to introducing a car club on the Site which will be operated by Enterprise. This venture will see three vehicles available for rent in the site, to be hired individually or as part of a car-share arrangement.
  4. Each separate house created will have a dedicated EV charging point, whilst a shared facility will be available for apartment blacks. Vehicle charging will also be extended to 20% of the planned visitor spaces.
  5. The public footpath running through the Site will be protected, and enhanced as part of new proposals to encourage walking and cycling through the site. This will include a new pedestrian crossing to the east of the Site against the A343, linked to the proposed cycleway.
  6. The proposed development will be designed to facilitate busses into the scheme to connect to larger centres including Newbury. This will include a mobility hub in the centre of the scheme, capable of supporting a bus-loop and real time display boards. Discussions are ongoing with the local operator and there is confidence that existing schemes running to Newbury can be rerouted through the development.

¹HBF (2018) The Economic Footprint of House Building in England and Wales. Metric