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Burghclere councillors throw out proposals for scaled down development

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Outline planning application for Whitway houses on outskirts of village

BURGHCLERE parish councillors have thrown out scaled-down proposals for a housing development on the village outskirts.

The issue was decided by a narrow majority and on the chairman’s casting vote at a Burghclere Parish Council meeting last Monday at the Portal Hall.

Applicant and site owner David Howard was at the meeting to answer any questions about his revised proposals for outline planning permission to build five houses with access at Whitway Farm Industrial Estate, Whitway, a brownfield site

Previous proposals for outline planning permission to build 14 houses and access – which had included proposals for affordable housing – had since been withdrawn after previous objections, which Mr Howard said he had “taken on board”.

Parish councillor Ian Findlay said the fact the site was brownfield helped with the application, although the junction from the main road was dangerous.

Mr Howard said he had owned the site for 22 years and, while acknowledging caution was needed at the junction, there was no record of any accidents at this spot.

He said any increase in traffic due to vehicle movements from the site would be negligible.

“Traffic officers said the visibility splays were okay, but there should be a warning sign for traffic approaching from the south,” said Mr Howard.

Parish councillor Geoff Morton pointed out that school runs and delivery vans would add to traffic movements.

“Everyone is shopping online these days, so five houses will generate far more traffic,” he said.

Mr Morton said although the revised proposals were for fewer houses, it was “the beginning of another development”.

Despite the site being previously used for industrial use, it lay within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Other parish councillors raised concerns that the site was distanced from supportive infrastructure such as shops and village facilities, while the village needed smaller, affordable housing for people to downsize.

Mr Howard pointed out only one of the houses was of a large size and he had earmarked it for himself.

“The others are all smaller,” he said.

Councillors voted two in favour and two against the proposals, which meant chairman Cliff James’ casting vote was needed to decide the issue.

Casting his vote against the proposals, Mr James said: “I am of the opinion that we have enough executive-style houses in the village and it also stretches Burghclere into Whitway and Old Burghclere.”

The site has been owned by Mr Howard since the 1990s, when it was a jam-making factory, then a poultry farm, before being used for light industrial use.

Most recently the 17,000 sq ft building had been used by Ibis Packaging Solutions.

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