PLANS to transform the now vacant property of a pharmaceutical company into 165 residential flats with affordable housing have been approved – but not without conditions that satisfy nearby residents.

The redevelopment of the former Pfizer Pharmaceuticals site in Huntercombe Park, Burnham by developer Bellway Homes was carried by the South Buckinghamshire Area Planning Committee on Wednesday (August 4) – but approval is subject to certain conditions, including preserving the privacy of its neighbours.

The seven-year family home of Mark Reynolds is situated on Wyeth Close which looks directly onto the development and is the closest property to it by ten metres.

Although Mr Reynolds is in favour of the redevelopment, he requested further landscaping to preserve the “complete privacy on the southern side of the house” his family are accustomed to.

“My first and second floor windows look onto the site and should it be granted approval, inhabitants will have very clear visibility of my house and garden,” he said.

“I’m in favour of the development as I appreciate the need for housing… however I have one request of Bellway Homes should this be approved – that is any approval to be subject to further landscaping, such as the planting of well-developed, tall evergreens… beyond the fence, along the southern end of my garden and extending to the proposed car park area so as to retain our privacy and prevent onlooking.”

He also requested the cleaning of houses and windows from “ongoing building work”.

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Cllr Marlene Lewis championed Mr Reynolds’ request, noting he is “very sympathetic to the development”.

Planning officer Gary Murphy agreed Mr Reynolds’ request was “reasonable”.

Bucks Free Press:

Bellway Homes proposes to demolish the former Pfizer Pharmaceuticals’ three existing and dormant offices and install in their place 165 flats within three three-storey and two four-storey buildings, with 255 parking spaces.

The site will also feature one cycle bay per property, extensive communal space, and a children’s play park accessible to outsiders.

The site lies within the Green Belt and is deemed “appropriate” because it “will not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt”.

It is determined there is “no reasonable prospect of the site being used for its permitted economic use, or alternate economic use”, according to council documents.

Planning permission is subject to satisfactory completion of a Section 106 Agreement for affordable housing.

A S106 Agreement is a legal agreement between a local authority and a developer to mitigate the impact of development.

Section 106 also details Bellway Homes’ consideration of impact on Burnham Beeches Special Area of Conservation, attendant flood risks and lack of sustainable travel measures.

Bellway Homes must also account for an “inability to secure open space provision”, absence of infrastructure payments to mitigate the impact on local healthcare facilities, finalising conditions, and “no new substantive, material planning matters”.

The new Huntercombe Park development will comprise 165 properties:

  • 45 x one-bedroom units
  • 113 x two-bedroom units
  • 7 x three-bedroom units
  • 255 parking spaces (10 per cent of which will have EV charging points)

Some 53 properties (32 per cent) will be affordable housing, comprising:

  • 27 x affordable rent (6 x one-bed, 17 x two-bed and 4 x three-bed)
  • 26 x shared ownership (8 x one-bed, 16 x two-bed and 2 x three-bed)

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The purpose-built 3.1 hectare site has been vacant since 2010 when Pfizer (formerly Wyeth Laboratories’ head office) sold the premises.

Planning applications in 2017 were for 86 properties but lapsed a year later.

South of the site is the Grade II Huntercombe Manor Registered Park and Gardens, of which Huntercombe Manor itself is Grade I Listed.

Cllr Roger Reed highlighted on-site car parking was “below” Local Plan requirements, leading to parking on nearby roads. Cllr Trevor Egleton supported Cllr Reed’s concern.

Although parking is “below the adopted parking standards, it is based on assessed parking demand reflecting levels of local car ownership,” according to council documents.

Extra conditions and updates

During the committee meeting planning officer Gary Murphy noted a compliance for a “Secured by Design” accreditation, and no further “mechanical plants” to be installed on the exterior or roof without prior written approval of the planning authority.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was also adjusted down from £1.6 million on 23 per cent affordable housing provision, to £1.34 million based on 32 per cent affordable properties.

Section 106 contributions to healthcare and Burnham Beeches are “additional” to the CIL, but education contributions are contained in it.

The redevelopment site coverage (11,283 sqm) and building volume (44,044 m3) has been adjusted down against the existing by 1 per cent (7 per cent).

The proposal was carried unanimously with conditions, including landscaping behind Mr Reynolds’ property.

Headline image courtesy of Google Maps.