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East Woodhay community group call on council to reverse farm decision

Friends of East End want parish councillors to drop their approval for development

Jonathan Ashby

Jonathan Ashby


01635 886637

East Woodhay community group call on council to reverse farm decision

A GROUP of East Woodhay residents opposing the proposed Sungrove Farm development have called on the parish council to rescind their support of the scheme.

On December 2 last year, East Woodhay Parish Council supported the development for a garden centre-style mixed use project by a majority of five to four.

However, the decision was taken prior to the publication of a report from the North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty (AONB), which strongly opposed the scheme.

Friends of East End (FOEE) are calling on the council to withdraw its support for the development – arguing that the AONB report holds enough weight for the council to now oppose it.

Peter Brunsden, representing FOEE, called on the parish’s elected councillors to represent the wishes of the people and reverse their decision.

He said: “Friends of East End – and the overwhelming majority of the people who live in the hamlet and the wider area – fully support and applaud the stance taken by the AONB in condemning the application as being totally in ‘the wrong place’.

“It is facile for the applicant’s agents to argue that the scheme is not a major development.

“Of course it is, because in terms of scale it is a very large commercial development for a tiny hamlet, served by single track, narrow roads.

“It represents a major impact on this local environment. One-hundred-and-seventy-nine letters of objections confirm that the local residents do not feel this is a justified development.

“We hope that the council officers, and our elected members will support us in a time of need and ensure that this application does not receive planning permission.”

In order for the decision to be revisited, three councillors from the full council will need to write to the clerk and declare that in light of new information, there needs to be a new vote on the scheme. 

The development is the latest in the long-running saga since Emily von Opel first unveiled plans to redevelop the land on Sungrove Farm.

Mrs von Opel – wife to billionaire Georg von Opel – is hoping to build a mixed-use building on the land – which is opposite her Malverleys home.

The plans include the demolition of a 1980s farmhouse and construction of a new building, which will house a farm shop, gift shop, bakery, plant nursery, café and education space.

A dilapidated barn would also be demolished and replaced by a much smaller agricultural dwelling.

Mrs von Opel claims the project is socially motivated and will be for the benefit of the community, acting as a potential meeting place while focusing on local produce.

However, the AONB is objecting to the plans on the basis that its location will have a detrimental impact on the surrounding area.

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Article comments

  • leggy

    24/03/2020 - 09:15

    I think it's a marvellous idea. Would be so lovely to have somewhere to pic up local products and where children can come and meet ! would do so well for our community