Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Greenham plan approved on appeal

Cruise missiles leave Greenham Common Airbase
Cruise missiles left Greenham Common in its days as an airbase

Controversial plans for a warehouse complex in Berkshire have been approved by the planning inspector.

The proposal at Greenham Common in Newbury was refused by West Berkshire council in May after residents claimed it would damage the area.

But developers ProLogis successfully lodged an appeal to build the depot at New Greenham Business Park.

The inspector said the planned buildings were classical and would not have a detrimental impact.

Inspector Trevor Cookson wrote in his decision: "I consider that there is no demonstrable harm to the ecological value of the common.

"The buildings proposed are classically simple...there is an understated elegance in their detailing."

The application attracted considerable public cross-border concern
West Berkshire council

ProLogis said the development would create about 500 jobs.

Councillors rejected the application last year due to concerns over traffic and the impact on the surrounding area.

Some residents argued the buildings, which will be visible from Greenham Common, will block the views across to Hampshire and Watership Down.

In a statement, West Berkshire District Council said: "The application attracted considerable public cross-border concern.

"However, the planning inspector having heard all the facts at the public local enquiry and taking a strict interpretation of planning policy decided that the scheme should be allowed, and we must respect that decision."

ProLogis said planning policy supported the re-use of previously developed land over building on greenfield sites.

New Greenham Business Park was once the site of Greenham Common Airbase, a major US airforce base which housed nuclear weapons but was made redundant from military operations in 1992.

As a condition of the appeal decision, work on the plans must start within three years.

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