Friday, 21 September 2012

Officer briefing on the Crescent Road site and planning applications including a map

Well done to Melanie Eastwood for persevering and getting this briefing from Reading officers. Remember, the public meeting we have been lobbying for – school places in east Reading – is on Thursday, September 27 at 6:30 PM at Alfred Sutton school in the main hall. I hope that as with the Maiden Erlegh campaign politicians and residents will be able to work together to keep all of this land in education use.

First of all, here is the map showing who owns what – red is UTC, blue is developer who will probably try to build housing there, green is the playing field area to be leased to the Academy. Below is more policy detail.

crescent rd map 040-page-002

Policy Position
Policy SA7 of the Sites and Detailed Policies Document, Submission Draft (2011) seeks to retain the wider site for Further and Higher Education (FHE) use but accepts that other educational uses may be appropriate if it can be demonstrated that this would not have a detrimental impact on FHE provision in the Borough overall. Policy SA7 says that the Crescent Road campus will continue to be used for Further and Higher Education (FHE) (but) where it can be demonstrated that the loss of FHE on this site will not have a detrimental effect on the overall FHE provision in Reading, the site will be used for:
•        Other education uses; or
•        If not needed for any form of education, development for residential (59-93 dwellings).
The policy goes on to state that if the site is shown to be suitable for residential use, the following criteria would apply:
•        Vehicular traffic along Crescent Road should be no greater than that generated by the current FHE use. If the development is to generate greater levels of traffic, the remainder should be accessed via an upgraded Bulmershe Road to the south (I understand that to date there has been no contact made by a developer to RBC Highways in respect of upgrading Bulmershe Road);
•        At the northeastern corner, development should incorporate a pick-up/drop-off area for Alfred Sutton School;
•        Development should seek to retain trees covered by Tree Preservation Orders;
•        Development should retain and enhance a green link across the site as shown on the Proposals Map, and mitigate its effects on biodiversity, including bats;
•        Development should have regard to the adjacent Conservation Area; and
•        Development should take account of the Air Quality Management Area, where it covers part of the development site.
UTC Planning Application
A planning application was received on 08/09/12 from the Reading Technical Academy Trust for the refurbishment of the UTC part of the site (outlined red on the attached plan). This application has not been validated yet. It shows subdivision of the site and use of the application site for the 'Reading Technical Academy' providing education for 14 - 19 year olds, demolition of some buildings and the erection of extensions.
Local residents will be consulted as soon as the submissions are validated.
Pre-application for the western part of the site
Pre-application advice was also requested for the redevelopment of the remainder of the site (blue outline on the attached plan) to provide houses and flats. The pre-application was submitted by Red Kite Development Consultancy, on behalf of Square Bay. Officers had an introductory meeting with the agent in June and a follow up meeting earlier this week.

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