A HOUSE-BUILDING firm is to ask a Government planning inspector to overturn the borough council’s rejection of plans for hundreds of homes on the edge of Basingstoke.
David Wilson Homes Southern has announced that it will appeal a decision by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s development control committee to block plans for homes on land north of Marnel Park, also known as Kiln Farm.
Campaigners, who fought against the proposal, have described the decision to take the case to the Planning Inspectorate as “disappointing”, but have pledged to continue their battle.
In January, the house-building firm first revealed plans for 450 homes, as well as a new school and community centre on the 23-hectare plot of land between Popley and neighbouring village Sherborne St John.
In July, the outline planning application – a general overview of the scheme – was rejected by the council, and in September, a detailed application for the first 200 homes was also rejected.
Planning councillors turned down the applications on the grounds of loss of countryside, traffic congestion fears, destruction of wildlife, and poor infrastructure.
In the appeal to the Government inspector, David Wilson Homes’ team will argue that borough council planning experts had recommended that the development control committee should support the application for 450 homes.
They will also point out that the Government’s planning rule book, The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) says that a council should approve planning applications if they do not have at least a five-year supply of land for new homes. Recent figures show that the borough has only a 3.8-year land supply.
Giuseppe Zanre, planning director at David Wilson Homes Southern, said: “After careful consideration, David Wilson Homes Southern has decided to appeal the two planning refusals for the land north of Marnel Park.
“The proposed scheme was strongly supported by planning officers at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, and so it was very disappointing for both applications to be later refused by the planning committee.”
He added: “The planning application that we have proposed responds to the immediate housing needs of the borough and would see the delivery of a new primary school and community centre in a sustainable location.”
Edward Dawson, a planning expert representing Sherborne St John Parish Council, criticised the company for not “working with residents”, and added that people from the village, as well as the Popley area, would fight the appeal.
“I am very surprised, and very disappointed, that they have chosen to appeal,” said Mr Dawson. “It was a poor application, and I think they should have gone back and come up with something more acceptable for the community. It means that we have got to fight them and battle, rather than coming together and working with each other.”
Popley East ward Labour councillor Jane Frankum, another vocal opponent of the planned development, said: “I will continue to fight it until my last breath. It is in the wrong place, and is the wrong type of development.”