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NE Thatcham Development

Bucklebury Parish Council THA20 development

Development at Thatcham North East is planned to extend from Cox's Lane in the east at Colthrop almost to Lawrence's Lane to the west in Thatcham, and spread most of the way up the slopes between Thatcham and Upper Bucklebury.

It is the equivalent of bolting a new town the size of Hungerford onto the side of Thatcham.

We believe this is wrong.

Bucklebury Parish Council THA20 development

Impact of Thatcham North East

There is a bitter irony that West Berkshire Council (WBC) fought, right up to ministerial level, against the proposed development of 500 houses north-east of Thatcham at Siege Cross in 2015.  Their vigorous defence highlighted potentially devastating harm to the local environment and setting of the AONB, stating that the development would:

  • Urbanise the key areas of sensitivity […] including: the lower slopes of an important ridge line; Big Gully, a local landmark; good views across the area and long views across the Kennet Valley; the lack of development with scattered farmsteads and minor roads; and the rural setting of the historic settlement at Siege Cross Farm.
  • Detract from the enjoyment of the character and appearance of the AONB in views from the escarpment south of the River Kennet.
  • Erode the identity of Thatcham as being separate to that of the surrounding rural settlements.
  • Fail to conserve the historic landscape setting and rural context of Siege Cross Farm.

These are WBC’s own words.

Now, Siege Cross is back, this time contained within a development proposal five times larger, and this time we are told by WBC it’s an improvement to the same environment and AONB setting!

Make no mistake, this development would take a green field site and destroy the local environment and landscape.  It would adversely affect the AONB that WBC is required to protect.  Damage would be irreversible; there is no replanting an ancient woodland; animals and plants once lost to housing and population growth are gone forever. 

In addition to unacceptable environmental issues, other impacts include:

  • Increased traffic through Thatcham and up into the narrow lanes of Bucklebury, Midgham and Cold Ash
  • Loss of historic sites
  • Potentially greater flood risk to Thatcham
  • Increased light, noise and air pollution

Other potential development sites are available that may reduce WBC’s reliance on Thatcham North East to achieve a workable Local Plan. It is our opinion they are not being given proper consideration.


Bucklebury Parish Council THA20 development

Moving forward 

Bucklebury Parish has been working with Thatcham Town Council and other local parishes, environmental groups and local organisations, not only to help build our argument and improve our response, but to explore opportunities for sharing costs along the way.  A compelling case needs professional help.  We are speaking with ecological and environmental consultants and planning experts who agree that this proposal is dangerous, and understand where best to apply pressure.

To receive information or offer help please email You will be added to the distribution list for updates and, if you wish to help, to the list of volunteers.

Updates will also be available on Facebook: Bucklebury Parish Against Thatcham NE Development

We are now in the final consultation phase called Regulation 19. This phase completes on 3rd March after which WBC will collate all information and send it, along with the Local Plan proposal, to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.

WBC are moving forward with this process despite Michael Gove stating on 6th December, 2022, that housing requirement numbers are now advisory rather than mandatory.

To receive information or offer help please email You will be added to the distribution list for updates and, if you wish to help, to the list of volunteers.

Updates will also be available on:

Facebook: Bucklebury Parish Against Thatcham NE Development

Instagram: @saynotothatchamdevelopment

Background information:

WBC is required by the Government to ensure sufficient sites for building are allocated to meet future housing and economic needs.

  • As part of this ongoing process, West Berkshire Council (WBC) are updating their Local Plan, the ‘Local Plan Review 2020 - 2037: Emerging Draft’ (available on WBC website, link at end)
  • Within the emerging draft of this update, WBC has proposed a site for - initially 2500 and now reduced to - 1500 houses and associated infrastructure to the North East of Thatcham.
  • Stage 1 consultations are now complete.
  • Stage 2 consultations are now live and run until March 3rd.

Wildlife photography by Oakmist Photography

Bucklebury Parish Council THA20 development
Bucklebury Parish Council THA20 development