MORE than 400 new homes will be built in north Hampshire after a Government minister gave the green light to the plans.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, approved plans by developer Croudace Strategic Limited for 425 homes on Razors Farm, off Cufaude Lane, between Chineham and Bramley, after they submitted a non-determination appeal last September.

Bosses at Croudace, who applied to the borough council for outline planning permission in December 2012, launched the appeal after saying the borough council took too long to make a decision.

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

However, at a meeting of the borough council’s development control committee in December, councillors still had to comment on what they would have decided. Concerns were raised that the site would be isolated, without a sense of community, and there were fears about what impact the new development would have on existing facilities in Chineham and Bramley.

Mr Pickles’ decision follows a week-long inquiry held by planning inspector Paul Griffiths in April.

In a 46-page report, Mr Griffiths pointed to a “substantial” need for affordable housing, saying: “The benefits of the proposal are obvious and include the provision of up to 425 new homes, of which 170 would be affordable and 255 open market.

“It is estimated that the proposal will generate a substantial number of construction jobs, but also a gross added value of £23million generated by future residents and £3.25million in New Homes Bonus.”

Alan Carey, deputy chief executive of Croudace, told The Gazette: “We are delighted to have been successful in our appeal. We now have to submit a reserved matters planning application and that will mean it is unlikely construction will start until next year.”

But Councillor Martin Biermann, Independent ward member for Chineham, is not happy with Mr Pickles’ decision.

He said: “Emphatically, there will be an extra burden on the local infrastructure, particularly the schools which are already in difficulties as a result of the extra children coming from Taylors Farm.

“To be putting these extra houses, in and to suggest that children can go to Great Binfields, is just short of bizarre because everyone will be getting in their cars to get to school.”