RESIDENTS living in Sherborne St John have protested against potential development in the village which could see over 500 new houses built. 

On Sunday, April 23, 70 villagers gathered on the village green united in their concern about potential development around the rural setting of the village, the wide-ranging group, some children and some in their 80s, walked footpaths passing several of the greenfield sites in and around the village directly threatened by plans for hundreds of new homes.

They were joined by all three of the ward councillors, Jay Ganesh, David McIntyre and Simon Minas-Bound. 

Event organiser Colette Williams said: "We are delighted by the turnout. When you try to rally local support that requires individuals to stop and commit their presence in this way, you never know, until the moment itself, whether you have struck a chord.  

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"The group clearly shows there is a genuine and shared anger at the several major speculative developments that are, right now, proposing to threaten the feel and setting of this picturesque and historic village.” 

Colette added: “In truth, this support comes as no surprise, the recent speculative applications have resulted in over 600 objections to Basingstoke and Deane Council planning department, which is amongst the highest ever for Basingstoke council”.

The SSJ (Sherborne St John) Save Our Greenfields action group was clear in discussions with local supporters that this opposition is not about no development whatsoever, it is toward the current speculative developments championed by the developers, Bewley Homes, David Wilson Homes and Rydon Homes.

Basingstoke Gazette: Around 70 people attended the protest walk on April 23

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Representatives from the group were also keen to impress that developers should be focusing on building houses where they already have planning permission, instead of land banking these permissions, and continuing to proceed with additional speculative planning applications. 

“It’s absolutely not a case of us wanting to keep the village for ourselves either", Colette added. “The anchor points of The Swan pub, our village shop, the church of St Andrews and The Vyne, combined with our network of footpaths that link them, give everyone in and around Basingstoke a wonderful and free walking and cycling resource with a host of views that, we are determined, we will keep unspoilt for future generations. Build on this and it will be gone forever."

For more information on the group contact