HOOK’S neighbourhood plan is finally ready to be adopted by Hart District Council (HDC) after a legal challenge from a developer was dismissed.

Wilbur Developments, who had been promoting the development of land at Owens Farm, west of Hook, submitted a challenge over a ‘local gap’ - which prevents two settlements from merging. In this case, it was used to stop Hook and Newnham from being too close.

Councillor Jane Worlock, chairman of Hook Parish Council, said she was “delighted” at the outcome of the judicial review.

“We are now in a position for Hart to make Hook’s neighbourhood plan and we are hoping that that will be the case at full council later this month,” she told the Gazette.

“It will definitely benefit the village because it will mean that development won’t be at will. It is very good news for Hook.

“It was a combined effort between Hart District Council, Hook Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.

“We are now in a position to look at seriously implementing the regeneration at the centre of Hook, the masterplan of which was in the neighbourhood plan.”

As previously reported, more than 96 per cent of residents who voted in October’s referendum supported the plan, which helps form part of HDC’s planning policy when applications are considered for the area.

The proposals, drawn up by residents in conjunction with the parish council over the last five years, will be seen as a representation of residents' wishes when planning applications are to be decided on by HDC.

The result of the neighbourhood plan referendum came at a time when residents in Hook and the surrounding areas are concerned over development issues, including plans for Shapley Heath, a proposed garden village near Winchfield.

However, Shapley Heath had no relation to the neighbourhood plan, according to Hook Parish Council's executive officer Anne Atkins.

Cllr Graham Cockarill, HDC’s Cabinet member for Place, said: “We are absolutely delighted with this outcome.

“The local community has put a huge effort into preparing this Plan which will serve to protect Hook from unwanted development and encourage the regeneration of the village centre.”