Update on nearby housing plans
Prudential has withdrawn the planning applications recently submitted to West Berkshire Council, Reading Borough Council and Wokingham District Council for its Kennet Valley Park development in order to allow time for further consideration of some of the issues raised by local people and interest groups in consultation. The local authorities and other statutory and non-statutory stakeholders have been informed of this decision.
Amended applications will be submitted early in 2007.
" We (Prudential) have looked carefully at the responses received by the local authorities and we feel that it is important to address the concerns raised. Given the nature and scale of the applications we feel that it would be helpful to have a further opportunity to explain our proposals to stakeholders, particularly in relation to the concerns most frequently raised – ecology, the proposed flood alleviation scheme and aspects of traffic management relating to Burghfield Road and the A4 adjacent to Junction 12."
The planning objection sent by NIS in August 2006:
West Berkshire Council
30th August 2006
Dear Planning Officer
Application Number: 06/01795/OUTMAJ
Location: Kennet Valley Park, Burghfield Road, Burghfield Reading
7,500 dwellings; social infrastructure including schools, health centres and indoor recreation facilities; utilities, infrastructure etc.
Kennet Valley Park (KVP) is near to The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield. This unique nuclear site, where nuclear warheads are assembled and disassembled, currently has a 1.5Km countermeasure zone contained in its Off-Site Emergency Plan. In future, particularly during the decommissioning of plant and buildings at AWE, the zone could be extended. In the event of a nuclear accident, residents within the zone must take shelter or be evacuated, depending on the severity of the event.
Although KVP is just outside the existing countermeasure zone, if the prevailing south westerly wind were to take a plume towards the KVP site, West Berkshire Council, Reading Borough Council and the emergency services would be the authorities responsible for offering practical assistance. The local authorities would also be involved in ensuring that post accident re-housing, decontamination, remediation and monitoring is carried out and may have to cope with a community where people were unable to return home for many years.
The site is also very close to the 600metre evacuation zone along the Burghfield Road, needed in the event of a radiation risk from a TCHD warhead transporter accident.
Application for Housing Development close to the AWE Countermeasure Zone
1. A planning application that meets planning requirements in other respects, should be examined in terms of the strain it would put on local resources in the event of an accident at the nearby AWE Burghfield site.
2. It is questionable whether it is appropriate to have such a large scale development in the vicinity of the AWE Burghfield factory, given the concerns of the Nuclear installations Inspectorate expressed in their Report1 relating to the age and state of the Burghfield site.
3. The site is within 2 km of a former munitions factory, now designated a nuclear licensed site and a source of radioactive contamination. Surveys should be undertaken on contamination levels and groundwater flows in the area to establish whether there would be any impact on the development.
4. The proximity of the site to the disused underground AWE Pangbourne Pipeline should be established and taken into account.
5. At the time of the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq, we were told that Saddam
Hussein had sited military installations in civilian areas and that this was conclusive
proof of his brutality – who other than a tyrant and a dictator would think of using civilians as "human shields" to protect the military? WBC cannot exempt itself from this unpalatable political comparison since responsibility for its policy rests with the democratically elected council. Before any consent is considered on planning grounds, the matter should be referred to the Full Council for debate on this issue.
6. The Emergency Services should be consulted and local people made aware that limited accident response resources might have to be stretched over a greater number of people. It is surprising that planning applicants are entitled to submit plans for new housing developments so close to a REPPIR site countermeasure zone and the Full Council should look at this question as a matter of policy.
In the light of the contents of this letter, I wish to object to Planning Application06/01795/OUTMAJ.
1. HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate
AWE ALDERMASTON AND BURGHFIELD
QUARTERLY REPORT FOR 1 JANUARY TO 31 MARCH 2006
New Assembly/Disassembly Facility:
New facilities offer safety gains from reduction of risks compared to facilities designed to older standards. NII is pursuing the early construction and use of new assembly/ disassembly facilities at Burghfield, in order that work associated with the current AWE programme is predominantly carried out in the new facilities. Recently delays have occurred in the design phase, which may result in extended use of the current facilities. NII has advised AWE that a consequence of extended use of existing facilities will be that the periodic safety report may need to contain more demanding justifications and additional engineering.