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'Let Odiham decide on development'
VILLAGERS in Odiham should decide where development takes place before a decision is made on a new housing estate.
That was the outcome of a meeting of Odiham Parish Council on Monday, after a discussion about the plan by Bell Cornwell to build 89 homes at Hatchwood Farm, off Farnham Road.
Councillor Helen Fleming said the parish council will argue that the application is premature, as villagers have not yet developed a neighbourhood plan, detailing where they would like housing, as outlined by the Localism Act.
If Hart District Council did not agree, she said, the parish council would object to the application on the grounds of its density, design, house sizes and effect on traffic.
Cllr Fleming said there was no point consulting about a neighbourhood plan while the Hatchwood plan was still “live” as this would not be deemed fair.
She told the meeting: “It’s only when we have done public consultation that we will know how the public feel about small developments and large developments.”
Cllr Mark Faulkner backed Cllr Fleming. He claimed that Odiham was different from other villages because of its high number of listed buildings.
But Cllr Mike O’Neill, the only parish councillor voting against the approach outlined by Cllr Fleming, said the parish council should back the Hatchwood plan, as any rejection would see more houses built in areas like North Warnborough.
He added: “It’s a good site to make half of our allotted housing numbers. In ten years’ time you will not even notice that it’s there.” Around 50 members of the public turned up for the meeting, which was moved especially to The Vine Church in London Road.
Earlier, Sir Joe French, former station commander at RAF Odiham and current Waverley Close resident, spoke out against the plan.
He told the meeting: “Approval of this application would set a devastating precedent and ruin the face of our community forever.”
The application has so far received 96 comments. Almost all are objections. The district council will decide their response to the application by October 15.