More than 1,000 object to Whitenap plan

First published in News by

ROMSEY remains firmly opposed to controversial plans to build more than 1,000 homes at Whitenap.

Latest figures released by Test Valley Borough Council show that views on the proposals remain unchanged following another public consultation on the Revised Local Plan, which earmarks farmland just south of the town for 1,300 homes.

TVBC received 2,100 responses to its planning blueprint and of those there were 1,103 objections to the controversial proposed Whitenap development, which has been attacked by Romsey Town Council, campaign group, Romsave and many individuals within the community.

Borough Tadburn ward member, Mark Cooper, who is vehemently opposed to the mass development, has warned that the Borough Local Plan still doesn’t meet government requirements and is likely to be thrown out when it goes before a planning inspector because it ignnored local opinion.

“The revised Local Plan does not conform to government policy, as expressed in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF),” said Mr Cooper, who pointed out the borough hadn’t encouraged parish and town councils to draw up Neighbourhood Plans which would be taken into account when drawing up the area’s development blueprint.

Romsey Extra Parish Council and Romsey Town Council are currently working on their own joint Neighbourhhood Plan, which is likely to call for housing to be spread over a number of sites rather than concentrated on two – Whitenap and Hoe Lane, at North Baddesley, where 350 homes are proposed.

Referring to Paragraph 155 of the NPPF document Mr Cooper said: “This states that early and meaningful engagement and collaboration with neighbourhoods, local organisations and businesses is essential.

“A wide selection of the community should be proactively engaged, so that Local Plans, as far as possible, reflect a collective vision and a set of agreed priorities for the sustainable development of the area including those made in any neighbourhood plans that have been made.”

Mr Cooper added: “The borough council has done none of these things, despite having more than two years to do so, and has not brought neighbourhood planning into existence until forced to do so by local parish councils.”

He claimed that the officer in charge of drafting the Revised Local Plan was unaware that a significant number of the objections this time round related to paragraph 155.

“This rather begs the question: has Test Valley actually read the objections?” he concluded.

Borough council staff are currently going through the comments and will be making recommendations on any changes, if any, to the plan, to the borough cabinet sometime this summer.

The objections can now be read online at TVBC’s website.

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