A CAMPAIGN group has claimed a battle victory but warned its war is not over after controversial development plans were withdrawn.

Hook-based developer Bell Cornwell has withdrawn an application to change the use of agricultural land at Dunley’s Hill, Odiham, to build houses on the conservation area, known as the Deer Park.

Now campaign group Save the Deer Park Action Group (SPAG) said the developer, which is working on behalf of landowner Richard Revell, has blamed Historic England’s involvement for the plans submitted to Hart District Council failing.

SPAG team leader, Graham Plumbe said: “They blame withdrawal of the planning applications on Historic England (HE), formerly English Heritage, while having sought to override national and local planning policies and the hundreds of local residents who opposed development.

“This followed formal consultee comments from HE to the planning authority, Hart District Council, as well as adverse comments from the council’s own conservation consultant.”

The agent’s notice of withdrawal to the district council’s planning department reads: “In the light of the change in balance by HE, my client wishes to withdraw the applications.”

As previously reported in The Gazette, the intention was for Bell Cornwell to create a new extended car park, community building, eight dwellings and residential curtilages, as well as a deer shelter, on the site.

However, the plans for the land, which for the past 400 years has been used for agriculture, had been widely objected to by residents and members of SPAG.

Mr Plumbe added: “SPAG regards this as winning a battle but not the war. There can be little doubt that an alternative proposal will soon come forward, in one form or another.”