A housing developer is appealing a decision by councillors to refuse plans for 110 new homes on the edge of Oakley.

Wates saw their outline planning application rejected in October 2020, with one parish councillor labelling it an "opportunistic land grab".

It would have tripled their housebuilding in the area, as the company are currently developing the 48-house Canterbury Gardens site.

But now, the company have decided to appeal the decision. A decision is expected in June.

Cllr Diane Taylor, who represents Oakley and North Waltham, has said she is "passionate about the protection of all our villages which are so important for us all".

She told The Gazette: "This proposed development, which is seeking to take advantage of the slight shortfall in the Borough’s five year housing land supply, would be disastrous for Oakley as a village community, and would seriously compromise safety on the country lanes in Church Oakley, the area to the west of the village.

"Oakley has grown greatly over the years, with all major development taking place to the east, away from the historic part of the village and where roads can accommodate the extra traffic. This proposal for 110 houses at Station Road represents a new principle of development to the west, using country lanes to take traffic into and out of the village.

"Oakley is surrounded by new development, either already agreed or proposed for the future. That is accepted. We know that there has to be new housing somewhere. However, the village borders therefore must now be protected so that Oakley is allowed to continue to be a village community.

"Our planning system seems to have the destructive principle that if a community has grown, it can grow a bit more, and then a bit more – expanding incrementally without the need to take a step back and look at the development of the area as a whole.

"There seems to be no formal principle of calling a halt to the expansion of an established community in order to preserve it and maintain its character and ambience. That is wrong.

"Community is an important principle for all of us, whether we live in a village, a town, a hamlet or a defined urban district. Being part of a community gives us a sense of identity and belonging and thus responsibility.

"A village doesn’t just become a town because it grows residentially. Without the infrastructure of a town it becomes just a mass of housing, losing its identity.

"We should take care of the villages that we have around Basingstoke, not just for the sake of the village residents, but for the sake of everyone who enjoys the walks, beauty and history of our lovely villages."

Councillors on BDBC's Development Control committee threw out the plans to build 110 homes off Station Road last year.

Cllr Taylor told members of the committee the development would put "the public, and especially children and young people, seriously at risk".

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 back in October.

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."

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.

They cited concerns that it would adversely affect a conservation area and highway safety issues.

Wates have been contacted for comment.