A PROPOSAL to build more than 100 homes on the edge of Oakley that was refused by councillors last year has been reversed after the developer appealed the decision.

Wates Developments Ltd challenged the decision of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's development control committee from October 2020, which refused outline planning permission for up to 110 homes at Station Road.

It would triple the developer's housebuilding in the area, as Wates are currently constructing the 48-home Canterbury Gardens development.

Councillors had thrown out the appeal because of its impact on the adjacent Church Oakley conservation area and on the character of the area, as well as transport infrastructure concerns.

But planning inspector Tom Gilbert-Wooldridge found that adverse impacts of the development "would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when ... taken as a whole".

He continued in his written report: "There are sufficient material considerations to indicate that permission should be granted."

Reacting to the news, Cllr Diane Taylor, ward councillor for Oakley and the Candovers, said: "The decision to grant permission for 110 houses in Oakley is a bitter disappointment and highlights how appalling the 5-year housing land supply policy is.

"The land in question, adjacent to the conservation area, is not designated in Oakley & Deane’s carefully drawn Neighbourhood Plan. However, because a complex and disputed method of assessing how well the borough has done in actually building the houses for which permission has been granted, the Neighbourhood Plan is superseded by developers who lie in wait to take advantage of this supposed shortfall.

"It is just simply wrong. It is leading to the destruction of the countryside and of communities and hands power to the very people who have no care at all for the lives and well-being of residents."

She previously 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.

"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."

A parish councillor had also told the committee meeting in October that the proposal was an "opportunistic land grab".

A reserved matters application, which adds more details, is now expected.