Recent Housing Development by Annette Drake

The greatest threat to Hurst is the constant demand for housing. When the Hurst District plan was formulated in 1982, the Introduction stated:

Within the context of the submitted Structure Plan, the County Council prepared a draft Green Belt Subject plan which proposed to protect the whole of Hurst from development other than that appropriate to a rural area by according it Green Belt status. The proposal was supported by the District Council but the approved Structure Plan does not designate any additional land as Green Belt in this area; a small area in the north-east of the plan area was already designated as Green Belt

An opportunity missed! Three sites were identified in the Hurst District Plan for possible development; needless to say all of them have now been developed. Here is what has happened between 1985 and November 2001.

Sawpit Lane

A small site on the corner of Sawpit Lane at its junction with Lodge road was given permission for three houses. At a subsequent appeal, four houses were granted.

New house built on the Martineau Site, or the Allotments field, 1994

The Martineau Lane site belonged to the Council who bought this area from Mr Martineau, [of Martineau Trust Fame) originally intended for council housing or village homes for young first time buyers, but the housing department decided this was not a suitable site for them to place waiting list families due to the lack of public transport and other facilities - not to mention its commercial value. The site was sold for £3,000,000 to a developer who gained permission for 36 houses. The new Planning policies that required a percentage of rentable houses on all new developments applied, and the land was given free in return for  four Housing Association houses. These were built in 1993. The houses form a horseshoe shape around a village green that can be used as a village amenity.

Dalby Close, off Hinton Road. is a reminder of John Dalby,
who became Lord of the Manor in 1720

The site situated between Hinton Road & Hogmoor Lane was originally land locked, but it did eventually acquire an access road when part of the garden of Little Grange in Hinton Road was used. Twenty-one houses were permitted in 1994. The new road was named Dalby Close.


New houses in School Road

The outbuildings in Orchard Road, formally Hick’s Roses site, were converted into an attractive residential property.

Above and below: new houses in Orchard Chase

The owners of 'Orchard House' divided the house into two dwellings, and converted the out buildings into a separate house, 'Garden House', and seven houses were built in 1995 & 1996 in the garden area, which became known as Orchard Chase.

New houses in Lodge Road

The site vacated by Hicks Nurseries was sold for development and twelve houses were built with three fronting onto Lodge Road.


Left: Barber Close. Right: Nursery Close

A further nine houses on Barber Close, a new cul-de-sac approached from Sawpit Lane. This led to two more houses being built on a little lane off Lodge Road now called Nursery Close.

Douglas Grange

The pig farm buildings off Davis Street were demolished and five Houses were built in a new close now known as Douglas Grange. There was a small green area left open, but in 1999 an application to build another house on this site was granted at appeal.

New house nearing completion in Davis Way.

The house is built on land that was used as the entrance to High Chimneys. Davis Way became a cul-de-sac when the A329M was constructed. It was previously the main road to Winnersh, and crossed over the bridge at Merry Hill Green.

The new 'Dorndon House', School Road, 2001

The large family house that stood opposite St Nicholas School, 'Dorndon House' was sold and converted into an old peoples home. When the home closed in 1999, it was purchased by a developer who received permission to replace the house with ten luxury apartments using the same footprint.

Lea Heath Way, October, 2001. Formerly business site used George Ford.

The George Ford business which traded in farm goods and supplies ceased trading in Hurst in the 1980s. Development was granted on the site in the early 1990s, however the land changed hands and there was a delay before the six houses granted at appeal were begun.

Bonhomie Court, awaiting development, November, 2001

The original Old Peoples home Bonhomie Court was closed in 2000 and sold to a developer. Originally this site was destined for conversion to more than over 40 social flats,  but, as was the case with the Martineau site, this area was not considered to be a suitable site for social housing as it was too far from services and public transport. Finally permission to demolish the existing building and construct another of the same size was granted in September 2001. The new building would comprise of 22 luxury apartments. A legal agreement requiring a developer donation of £200,000 for the provision of social housing in a more appropriate place in the Wokingham District was a condition of the permission.