PLANNERS took too long to decide on a 425-home scheme in Bramley – and now it will be decided on by the Government.

Plans for the new homes on Razors Farm were fiercely opposed by borough councillors, but the final decision has now been handed to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Croudace Strategic Limited, which is planning the new development, lodged a non-determination appeal in September, saying Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council took too long to decide on the application.

The proposal will now be the subject of a planning inquiry on April 8 this year, the results of which will be sent to Mr Pickles, who will make the final decision.

Under planning regulations, the borough council has eight weeks, or a timescale agreed with developers, to decide the outcome of an application.

Croudace Strategic Limited applied to the borough council for outline planning permission in December 2012.

Mike Townsend, the council’s planning and development manager, told the development control committee: “The planning application was not determined within statutory timescales as we were awaiting the outcome of discussions between the applicant and Hampshire Highways in relation to concerns around the highway implications of the proposed development.

“At the time of the appeal being submitted, the council was consulting on additional information submitted by the applicant as part of the application. Until that time, the applicant had been willing to extend the timescale for determining the application as agreed with the case officer.”

Huw Edwards, planning partner for Barton Willmore Partnership, a planning and design consultancy working with Croudace, told the meeting: “A commercial decision was taken in order to try and create an end date that we could reach – the decision was not taken lightly.

“We have always been mindful of the emerging need for houses in the borough. Our decision was that in an ideal world, we would receive planning permission at the local level.”

Councillors on the development control committee still had to comment on what they would have decided, and their opposition to the proposals will be passed to the planning inspector.

At the meeting they raised concerns that the site would be isolated, without a sense of community, and the impact the new development would have on existing facilities in Chineham and Bramley.