TADLEY residents are making a desperate plea to the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Councillors to reject the plan for construction of eight new houses in their neighbourhood.

Thornacre Land Limited is applying for permission to build eight new houses with associated access, parking, landscaping and private amenity space at a land in Monk Sherborne Road, Charter Alley.

But, the residents are making a “last-ditch” attempt to try and raise awareness before the council takes a call on the plan at their development control committee meeting on Wednesday, August 10.

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According to Helen Barton, one of the residents objecting to the proposal, the development involves removing part of an ancient hedge, increasing the number of cars that will access Monk Sherborne Road close to an unsighted bend and just yards away from a busy T-junction.

Mrs Barton said the development was proposed nearly two years ago, and it was “initially turned down by Basingstoke and Deane Planning Dept. but, due to an oversight, an appeal was allowed and subsequently passed”.

“The appeal was granted after a visit by an inspector in the middle of lockdown when we were not allowed out, so nobody saw the village in its true light,” she said.

“The village has a 30mph speed limit throughout, which is frequently broken and in several places, including outside the proposed development site, two cars cannot pass each other safely. Lorries to the little industrial estate thunder down regularly.

“Traffic surveys were undertaken to determine the speeds, but they were undertaken this time last year, while everyone was on holiday. There was no school traffic, no school bus - so, naturally, the results did not reflect the true picture.

“Hampshire Highways Authority are sufficiently unconcerned by the ignoring of government advice on conducting traffic surveys in neutral months to say it wouldn't have made any difference waiting for a month or so.” 

Monk Sherborne Road is on the cut-through route from the A339 to Tadley, Bramley, parts of Basingstoke and across to the A33 to Reading. 

Mrs Barton said the road is incredibly busy in the mornings and it is dangerous to the horse-riders, cyclists and dog-walkers who are just exercising their right to use the road in their village.

She added: “Entrance to the site will be through a hedge that has been in existence for more than 50 years. The land behind the hedge has been used for grazing but is also on the perimeter of the old Ramsdell Brickworks. 

“When the brickworks closed, the excavated land was filled in with all sorts of rubbish, and contains a great deal of sand (as the core samples will have revealed), which has meant underpinning houses to save them collapsing when Sand Martin Close was built on an adjacent plot nearly 15 years ago. 

“The hedge is filled with a variety of trees and shrubs; one tree has a permanent preservation order on it and the entire hedge is home to birds, bats and small mammals. I also understand that it is Government policy to be planting and conserving hedges, not spoiling them.”

Mrs Bryony Crowther, another resident who objected to the plan, said the proposed entrance to the development has not been investigated properly.

She said: “This is a very narrow lane which is busy as it is. The inspector's report stated that there were no concerns over the level of traffic through the village, but their inspection was carried out during lockdown when the roads were virtually empty. That is not a true appraisal of the existing and considerable pressure on these lanes and therefore this report cannot be taken into account.”

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The proposal has so far received 33 public comments on the council’s planning portal – all objecting.

Cllr Jay Ganesh, one of the ward councillors for the area, said he cannot comment on the proposal as he is part of the Cabinet.

Ward councillor and leader of the council Cllr Simon Bound has also objected to the proposal.

He said: "The process of communities identifying where they are supportive of development is undermined by this application. Wootton St Lawrence Neighbourhood Plan, covering this site in Charter Alley, was only created in 2019 and this site was not supported by residents.

"The owner of the land hasn't chosen to promote this site through the recent open and transparent process run by the Local Planning Authority. The owner clearly is trying to circumvent the usual process and the agreed plan and should be refused on this reason.

"The proposal represents an unnecessary, harmful and unwanted development. If approved it will have a significant detrimental impact on the rural area of Charter Alley. An impact on character that is against local planning policy.  The policy makes it clear that development should respect the local landscape and be sympathetic to its character and visual quality, together with respecting the character, form and appearance of the surrounding village.

"The severe impact on the already dangerous junction nearby have not been taken into account with the recommendation for approval. This application should be refused." 

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