Fri, 22 Jan 2021
A CAMPAIGN group opposing the Sungrove Farm development in East End has accused Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council of ignoring the wishes of the parish.
This is despite East Woodhay Parish Council objecting to the scheme by a majority of six to one after the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) criticised the project for its impact on the countryside.
Following the decision, Friends of East End (FOEE) – which has opposed the development since it was first unveiled in 2019 – expressed its disappointment that the planning committee rejected the views of the parish council and the AONB, as well as “180 letters, the large majority of which came from within the parish”.
A spokesman said: “We do feel that democracy has been badly served in this case. Local opinion, supported by multiple, detailed arguments to the council, has been summarily ignored.
“No time was allocated after the presentations for either side to challenge statements by the other.
“Thus, planning decisions are being hijacked through lack of proper scrutiny.”
The group said they felt “aggrieved” at the “failure of the committee” to consider arguments put forward, such as the impact on the area’s dark skies and inability of the road network to cope.
It also accused borough councillor for East Woodhay Clive Sanders, who spoke at the meeting in favour of the scheme, of “promoting his personal view instead of that of the parish council and the majority of his constituents”.
The spokesman added: “It will have a major impact not just on the hamlet, but on the lives of the many people who live on or close to the narrow roads which lead to it.”