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«E RESPE UTUR CT eF th r fo ST - PLANNING Revised Battle Hospital A eP th Planning Brief G IN eF ECT UTUR E RESP Supplementary Planning Document July ...»

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Planning Brief







Supplementary Planning Document

July 2005

Planning Section, Planning & Transport,

Director of Environment, Culture & Sport,

Reading Borough Council,

Civic Centre,

Reading RG1 7TD

Tel: 0800 626540

Email: planning.info@reading.gov.uk



This brief replaces the original planning brief for the Battle Hospital site,

which was produced by the Council in 1995. This new document was based on the original and underwent widespread public consultation at the end of 2004/beginning of 2005 and was formally adopted by the Council’s Cabinet meeting on 18th. April 2005.

The Battle Hospital site is arguably the most important “brownfield” site to come forward for redevelopment in West Reading in the last 15 years and it is up to all of us – Council, developers and local people – to produce a vibrant new sustainable community, which successfully integrates into this established Victorian/Edwardian residential area.

I am confident that this brief will set the standard for achieving a highquality, dynamic new addition to the town, complete with a new neighbourhood spirit and community uses, including a much-needed health centre, in the heart of the Oxford Road Area.

John Howarth Lead Councillor (Strategic Planning and Transport) Reading Borough Council Revised Battle Hospital Planning Brief, July 2005 Contents 1.0 Introduction 2 2.0 Planning policy Context 3 3.0 Site Characteristics 9 4.0 Site C

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1.0 Introduction 1.1 A planning brief for the Battle Hospital site was adopted by the Borough Council in March 1995, and carried full Supplementary Planning Guidance status. This version updates and replaces that brief in the light of subsequent changes in Government guidance and further consultation.

1.2 In July 2002, the Borough Council issued outline planning permission for redevelopment of the Hospital site for 315 dwellings, 4,645 sq.m. food store, 4,413 sq.m. non-food retail units, fast food unit, petrol filling station, community uses, community car park, ancillary highway works and landscaping”. Although at the time of writing, this is unlikely to be pursued, this is nevertheless a “material planning consideration”.

1.3 The main purpose of this revised planning brief is to guide the comprehensive redevelopment of surplus land at Battle Hospital, in the context of recent land sales and anticipated forthcoming planning applications. This brief formulates specific planning principles for this site, which is being released for development at a time when work on the Local Development Framework (to replace the existing Local Plan) is still at an early stage. The revised Brief puts increased emphasis on design, sustainability and housing efficiency considerations, in line with Government advice and the Council’s own policies.

1.4 It is expected that the land will be released in mid- 2005 as existing uses are transferred to other sites, but predominantly the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH), London Road, Reading. In March 2004, the Royal Berkshire and Battle Health Trust (RBBHT) sold 10.1 hectares of the site, retaining the northernmost part for its own use. Some of the rest of the land remains in the ownership of the Royal Berkshire Ambulance Trust (RBAT).

1.5 The area of the whole of the Hospital site is 13.1 hectares. There is potential for conversion of the most notable existing buildings. The Brief makes provision for a mixture of residential development, public open space, together with community facilities and commercial development (as an extension to the Oxford Road West district centre). The area covered by the Brief includes land along the frontage to Oxford Road, which does not form part of the Hospital site. It also gives guidance should the retained medical land fronting Portman Road including the ambulance depot, boiler house, laundry, etc. becomes available for redevelopment.

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2.1 The Reading Borough Local Plan (RBLP) was adopted in October 1998. The policies of the RBLP are effectively “saved” under the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and remain part of the Development Plan for the purposes of Section 54a of the Principal Planning Act.

2.2 Policy COM1 (Hospitals) of the Local Plan proposes the redevelopment of surplus land at Battle Hospital for a mix of uses including residential, open space, community and retail facilities. The Plan identifies a site (Site 17) of 13 hectors for development for:

• Housing (at least 300 units)

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2.3 The Plan envisaged that the development of the identified site would provide an overall target of 300 units. However, since the Plan was adopted, Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 (Housing) was issued in March

2000. This PPG advocates more efficient use of urban land and an increase in housing densities. It is acknowledged that following the advice in the PPG, the development of the site should produce more dwellings than originally envisaged in the Plan, although the other facilities sought in the previous brief still largely stand.

2.4 Other principle Local Plan policies which relate to the proposals contained in

this Brief include the following:

–  –  –

2.6 The Council has other initiatives pertinent to this area, including:

• The Oxford Road Single Regeneration Budget (SRB);

• The Oxford Road Community Forum; and

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• The Community Strategy, “Reading 2020”.

2.7 The last of these initiatives now has increased importance in the planning system, by virtue of the Planning and Compensation Act 2004, Part 2 (Local Development) Section 19, which requires Local Development Documents (including planning briefs) to have regard to, inter alia, the Council’s own community strategy. Therefore, the aims of the LDD should reflect those of the community strategy. In particular, Chapter 8 of Reading 2020, entitled Quality Environments, sets out the quality of environment to be achieved in Reading and it is largely the planning system, which will deliver these aims.

Berkshire Structure Plan

2.8 The Berkshire Structure Plan 2001-2016 (BSP) is at an advanced stage of preparation and will soon supersede the present Berkshire Structure Plan (which was adopted in 1995). There are several policies of particular

relevance to this brief:

Other policies of the BSP would also be relevant to major planning applications on this site, in particular policies H6 (Residential density and Dwelling Mix) and the supporting text to policy DP4 (Provision of Infrastructure, Services and Amenities).

Policy DP5 (Quality of Urban and Suburban Areas) states:

“1. Urban and suburban areas, especially town, district and local centres and their surroundings, should include a variety of land uses in close proximity.

These should include employment opportunities, services and amenities for the needs of the population that lives or works locally and a substantial element of housing, including a wide variety of housing types including affordable housing.

2. The development of urban and suburban areas should produce a relationship between buildings and open spaces, which provides an attractive sense of place, and ample safe public space for walking, recreation and other leisure or civic activity.

3. Urban and suburban areas should be characterised by buildings of good design which are accessible to all members of the community.

4. Movement around urban or suburban areas, especially around town, district and local centres, should be made safe and pleasant to undertake by foot or cycle. Movement around, to and between town, district and local centres should be made easy by public transport.”

Policy EN8 (Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation) states that:

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“All forms of development will maximise the opportunity to incorporate current best practice in energy efficiency and energy conservation into their design, layout and orientation”.

2.9 Policy INF4 (Development Design for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) places increased emphasis on design briefs in setting out the goals for energy efficiency. Other policies of the Berkshire Structure Plan would also be relevant to major planning applications on this site, in particular policies H6 (Residential Density and Dwelling Mix); Policy T4 (Travel Impacts) and the supporting Policy DP4 (Provision of Infrastructure, Services and Amenities).

Policy T4 (Travel Impacts) states:

“All development will take appropriate measures to offset any adverse effects it has for the transport network. Development, which generates a significant number of trips should include the promotion of sustainable alternative modes of travel to the private car, and should take other steps, if required, to minimise the pressure on the transport network.” Regional Planning Guidance 2.10 Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (RPG9) was approved in 2001.

The RPG (paragraphs 5.5 – 5.10) emphasises the role of mixed use development in the renewal of urban and suburban areas. Paragraph 5.9


“The design of individual developments will be a major influence on the

extent to which they are sustainable. Aspects of sustainable design include:

• Use of waste prevention and minimisation techniques;

–  –  –

• Use of renewable and recycled materials during construction and design to facilitate recycling systems, including combined heat and power and community heating systems; and

–  –  –

• Use of “soft” construction and maintenance techniques harnessing natural processes”.

2.11 Policy Q2 (concerned with the quality of life in urban areas) seeks a general raising of quality of life in the urban environment, in order to counter trends of dispersal. This is primarily to be encouraged in Development Plans, but value is also placed on site-specific development briefs and the context set by other documents.

2.12 Policy Q3 (concerned with the efficient use of urban land) encourages local authorities to maximise the density of development, especially in the most accessible locations and to work closely with local communities and developers and produce briefs for housing or mixed use developments to guide developers.

2.13 The Regional Transport Strategy (as set out in the RPG) seeks to minimise the number and length of journeys wherever possible and promote a change in travel habits away from the car and towards public transport and cycling/walking. One of the ways this is to be done is by local authorities adopting maximum parking standards, in line with PPG13 (Transport).

2.14 Since the production of the RPG, the Regional Assembly produced a supplementary Regional Energy Strategy, which has been endorsed by the Government Office for the South East. This sets opportunities and targets for renewable energy generation in the region.

National Planning Policy 2.15 Providing quality environments is a core tenet of urban renewal. The Urban Task Force Report 1999 and the Urban White Paper 2000 provide advice and recommendations in terms of urban regeneration, identifying key issues such as dealing with the poor quality of life and lack of opportunity in some urban areas, and making sustainable urban living practical and attractive.

2.16 Planning Policy Statement 1 (Delivering Sustainable Development) states that; “Good design ensures attractive usable, durable and adaptable places and is a key element in achieving sustainable development. Good design is indivisible from good planning. ” (Paragraph 33).

2.17 The Council also takes account of “By Design” (DETR/CABE (2000)), and the Government’s companion guides to PPG1 and PPG3 in assessing planning applications. The increased emphasis on design in this brief is founded on the design policies in the Local Plan and this brief interprets these in the context of this site. The Council has also taken account of the recent work on Design Codes set out in the ODPM’s Sustainable Communities Plan, in order to provide greater certainty to the developer and set out clearly the Council’s aspirations for this major development site.

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2.18 The Borough Council is committed to producing safe urban environments by design and the development should take account of the ODPM/Home Office guide, “Safer Places: the planning system and crime prevention” (2004).

2.19 National planning advice relevant to the development of this site includes that contained in the following Planning Policy Guidance Notes. Also of

relevance are several recent draft Planning Policy Statements:

• PPS1: Delivering Sustainable Development (2004) • PPG3: Housing (2000) • PPS3: Housing, (draft 2003) • PPG6: Town Centres and Retail Development (1996) • PPS6: Planning for Town Centres (draft 2004) • PPS12: Local Development Frameworks • PPG13: Transport (2001) • PPG13: Transport (draft, 2003?) • PPG15: Planning and the Historic Environment (1994) • PPG16: Archaeology and Planning (1990) • PPG17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation (2002) • PPG 23: Planning and Pollution Control (1994) • PPG23: Planning and Pollution Control (draft, 2002) • PPG 24: Planning and Noise (1994) • PPG 25: Development and Flood Risk (2001) • PPG25: Development and Flood Risk (draft, 2004) 2.20 Developers should also be aware of the Council’s Local Transport Plan 2001­ 2006, and in particular of the following three strategies contained within it:

• The Interim Cycling Strategy • The Walking Strategy • The Bus Strategy

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