Fri, 04 Sept 2020
PLANS to build five new homes on the North Wessex Downs near Highclere Castle have been given the green light.
The applicant, David Howard, is planning to build two three-bed, two four-bed and one five-bed house on brownfield land at Whitway Farm, just 500 metres from the entrance to Highclere Castle and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
A storage shed will be demolished and storage units removed, with the houses built in their place.
A design and access statement, composed by planners at Pro Vision on behalf of Mr Howard states that the houses will be “constructed of high-quality materials predominantly of red facing brickwork and timber clad external walls”.
It says: “The use of timber, oak and red facing brickwork are considered appropriate to the local context and will respect the surrounding character of the area.
“The proposal will result in significant environmental benefits through the removal of large, unsightly industrial buildings and the replacement with five, sensitively and respectfully designed dwellings.
“Moreover, the proposal comprises the re-use of a brownfield site, to which there is national planning policy support in making efficient use of previously developed land.”
The plans were initially given the go-ahead in April 2017 when councillors gave the project outline planning permission – meaning the scale and nature of the development were considered acceptable but without the full details.
Now that further details have been provided, officers at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council have given the project the go-ahead.
Pro Vision planner Laura Black said: “Naturally our client is thrilled with this result.
“Not only does this permission maximise the value of a brownfield site, but the removal of the large, redundant storage buildings and concrete hard standing and their replacement with five sensitively designed dwellings will benefit the local area, boosting the supply of housing.”
The project hasn’t been universally welcomed however, after Burghclere Parish Council objected to the scheme on several grounds when it was first proposed in 2016.
The parish council argued that the development should be refused as it would be within the North Wessex Downs AONB, while two masts close to the development could raise health concerns.
The council went on to say that “affordable houses are wanted in the village, but this location is too far away from the amenities in the village for affordable homes and is not close to schools or the bus routes”.
It said “infrastructure of the area will need to be improved as there is no link to the village,” and “councillors believe it has the potential to ‘start a new village’ once a precedent is set and the land surrounding the proposed development.”
Lastly, the council also said the application should be refused as “the junction from the lane to the main road is very dangerous, particularly when turning towards the village”.
The one-hectare site was a poultry farm until the 1980s before being used as a jam-packing factory.
It was then bought by the applicant in 1994, who sought to redevelop the land with two office buildings.
Planning permission was granted by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in October 2001, however the applicant didn’t proceed after office space elsewhere became available.
It has since been used for light industry, storage and distribution purposes.