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Controversial housing development in Highclere recommended for approval

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build 26 homes in Highclere have been recommended for approval.

The plans – previously described as “totally out of character” with the rest of the village – will be decided by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s development control committee next Wednesday.

Ahead of the meeting, it has been revealed that planning officers have recommended the scheme for approval on the grounds that it wouldn’t “result in material harm to the landscape character and scenic beauty of Highclere”.

The plan for the homes. (51745383)
The plan for the homes. (51745383)

Development company JPP Land has targeted a greenfield site off the A343 for the homes – on the same site as an application five years ago for 50 homes which was turned down by the borough council.

The entrance will be off Andover Road, and the site will be split – with a wildflower field and open space in the south west corner of the site.

The plans attracted the ire of local residents when they were first revealed last year, and the parish council accused them of being unsustainable on “any economic or social service measure”.

The council also said the village lacked the infrastructure to manage the increase in population from the homes – and said the scheme was a “disproportionately large expansion of a parish the size of Highclere”.

However, planning officers have recommended it for approval, saying the development would deliver housing which would contribute towards the shortfall in Basingstoke and Deane, and would also provide economic, social and environmental benefits.

The borough council is currently updating its 2011-2029 Local Plan to identify which sites in the borough can be used for future development.

It currently needs to build around 884 new homes a year up to 2038 to meet its housing needs.

In the application notes ahead of the meeting, officers say the “proposed development would provide an appropriate mix of housing” while not causing “an adverse impact on highway safety, subject to the provision of adequate visibility”.

It added that the provision of a Section 106 agreement “would ensure that the development provides adequate infrastructure to mitigate the impact of the development in relation to affordable housing, open space, landscape management, and biodiversity enhancements”.

To view the application, go to the council’s planning portal and enter the reference 20/03524/OUT.

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