CONTROVERSIAL plans to triple the size of a housing development on the edge of Oakley have been rejected.

Councillors on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's Development Control committee threw out the plans to build 110 homes off Station Road, labelled by the chair of the parish council as "an opportunistic land grab".

The application had attracted 318 letters of objection from residents.

It was proposed by Wates Developments - who are currently constructing a 48-house development at next door Canterbury Gardens.

Members of the committee heard how the development would put "the public, and especially children and young people, seriously at risk", according to Cllr Diane Taylor, who represents Oakley.

She told the meeting there was a "clear precedent" against the development, adding that the heritage of the village would be compromised, labelling the development "ruinous".

"In all the years that I have served in my ward I have never known a proposed development as passionately unwanted as this one," Cllr Taylor said.

"Safety is completely compromised by this proposal. If this scheme goes ahead we will be putting lives at risk and ruining the heritage of the village.

"I don't know how else to convey to you that this proposal, far from promoting safety, puts the public and especially children and young people, seriously at risk.

"I am not just saying that I really mean it."

Her views were supported by Cllr Tim Parry, the chair of Oakley and Deane Parish Council.

He told the meeting that the development was a "fundamental breach of the Oakley and Deane Neighbourhood Plan", which was overwhelmingly supported by residents at a referendum in 2016.

"I think the residents are angry, the parish council are angry and indeed I am angry," Cllr Parry said.

"We were amongst the first parish councils in the area to get our Neighbourhood Plan agreed.

"The infrastructure cannot support this level of sustained development. Oakley has taken more than its fair share of housing development in the last few years.

"It appears to us to be an opportunistic land grab."

And despite Holly Gardener, project manager of the development, outlining its benefits, including a commitment to sustainability, 4.5 hectares of "extensive green space", "much-needed new homes" and access for residents to an electric car hire scheme, councillors were unimpressed by the access and safety concerns.

"Why didn't they approach Network Rail to build a footbridge?" Cllr Andy McCormick asked about the proposal. "That bridge is a single-track road without any pedestrian provision, and you've got Oakley Village Hall to the direct north.

"There is likely to be considerable additional pedestrian movement as a result of building that estate, and yet that wasn't considered a problem, so neither [Hampshire] Highways or Network Rail see that as an issue. This is something we should be getting the developers to contribute to.

"Surely the developer should have been compelled to make a contribution? Why let the developer off the hook on this?"

Despite warnings from planning officer Gregg Chapman that if the decision went to appeal they would not have the support of Hampshire County Council as they did not raise an objection, councillors went against the officers' recommendation to approval the scheme unanimously.

It means that whilst the 48-house development at the site will still go ahead, the extension will not unless the decision is overturned by the Planning Inspector in the event of an appeal.