Pro Vision helps to unlock development potential of Greenham Business Park and protect neighbouring common, a site of special scientific interest.
West Berkshire Council has unanimously approved a simplified planning system to attract new occupiers to Greenham Business Park near Newbury.
Pro Vision acted as planning consultant to Greenham Trust, owners of the prime employment site, formerly a US airbase. Despite a masterplan for its development dating back to the early 2000s, the 50-hectare business park is only 40 per cent occupied with the potential to accommodate 152,000 square metres of new and redeveloped floorspace.
The new streamlined planning process, known as a Local Development Order (LDO), is aimed at helping the park grow faster by removing the need to apply for planning permission.
It will allow new development subject to certain conditions, such as permitted uses, maximum height of buildings and measures to protect the local landscape and neighbouring homes, for example from noise and light pollution.
It means more certainty, reduced costs and minimal time delays for business owners, making the quick occupation of plots more feasible. It will take just 21 days for council planners to fast-track pre-development notifications, helping existing businesses to expand and attracting new investors.
The LDO, which lasts for a period of 15 years, was drawn-up by Pro Vision in close collaboration with the trust and the council.
James Iles, planning director at Pro Vision, said: “A lot of careful thought has gone into the preparation of this simplified planning regime for the business park, which as well as helping to unlock the development potential of the former airbase, also provides strong protection of the neighbouring common, the local historic interest, and the amenity of neighbours.”
Pro Vision planning consultants, architects and ecologists were involved from the start, coordinating technical reports and assessments, including a comprehensive heritage statement and wildlife surveys. Greenham Business Park has buildings dating back to the Cold War era and borders a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The LDO went through two public consultations which led to some key amendments before it was formally adopted by a meeting of the full council on December 6. It is the first such initiative in the district and one of only a few in the country allowing development of this scale.
Chris Boulton, chief executive of Greenham Trust and Greenham Business Park Ltd, said: “We are delighted that the LDO is to go ahead. In a competitive economy, an LDO can be key to businesses deciding whether to invest in our area or not.
“It also benefits the local planning authority and other local stakeholders by managing the site in a comprehensive, rather than piecemeal way and reduces the need to assess similar planning issues over and over again.”
Greenham Trust donates its profits to local good causes. Since it took control of the former military site, it has given more than £40m to projects, including sports buildings and a ‘vibrant villages’ scheme.