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Objectors rally against Highclere homes plan

Society urges villagers to register opposition to greenfield development

Jonathan Ashby

Jonathan Ashby

jonathan.ashby@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886637

Plan for more homes in Highclere revealed

MEMBERS of the Highclere community are rallying against plans to build 26 homes in their village.

Development company JPP Land Ltd has submitted an outline planning application to build the homes on a greenfield site off the A343 – four years after an application by the same company for 50 homes on the site was thrown out by the borough council.

The company claims the project will meet “needs for now and the future” by building efficient, family, smaller and working homes.

The homes would be located in the northeast corner of the site, which borders Andover Road and Westridge, with the southwest corner of the site dedicated to a wildflower field and open space.

However, the Highclere Society, which aims to protect and improve the environment and enhance the social life of Highclere, has strongly objected to the scheme and has called on the village’s residents to formally register their objections to the plan.

The society is objecting to the plan on the grounds that it constitutes a major development in an Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) contrary to national planning policy, that it is outside of any settlement policy boundary with no local need and that the development severely impacts the local landscape and does not respect local character.

The society also argues that the development would overly urbanise the village and that the location is unsustainable due to the lack of local services.

Society chairman Patrick Hedgeland said the scheme, if it went ahead, would drastically change the character of the village.

He said: “It’s not the right place to build a major housing development.

“It’s just a massive 10 per cent increase in everything – housing, people, cars.

“The character of Highclere is distinctively spread out, random and has the consistency of a very small village with gaps which you can see through to the hills around.

“This would be filling a gap.

“The borough is not asking for any housing in Highclere in their local plan, so it’s going against everything.

“There are lots of technical discussions can be had – our objections run 10-pages and it’s a closely argued legal document.

“We’re optimistic that we can stop it.”

Highclere Parish Council is also preparing a formal objection to the scheme, with councillors writing their objections to clerk Amy White to formulate into a single document.

The application will then be decided by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s development control committee.

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

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Article comments

  • O'Shaughnessy

    07/02/2021 - 15:12

    Good to see a local society which will stand up to development and the AONB. Development at Hollington Lane and East End shows we need strong local Borough Councillors who don’t just spout policies to “put residents at the heart of what they do” and “climate emergency” but who take local opinion seriously. Councillors in Basingstoke have been happy to mock AONB objections, dismissing them along with local opinion. They think we need to “build, build, build” on greenfield sites like this one or we will stagnate. If that is not local opinion then residents need to get on the phone to Councillors and say so. Councillors will always have a Tory majority out here but that should not mean they ignore local opinion or go against it. I hope the HS group can get Cllr Izett onside. Maybe remind them we’re all Evingar Ward in May with three Councillors to vote for. At least 180 voters will be looking for the difference between who has the gumption to protect the AONB and who just talks about it

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