PLANS for 104 homes, along with a community building, in Worting Park have been approved, despite concerns raised for the welfare of residents living in a nearby residential home for people with learning disabilities.

A developer has been seeking to build houses on the historic site since 2016 and has gradually reduced the number of properties.

Now, Cala Thames Ltd and Southorpe Developments Ltd have been given the go-ahead to build 104 dwellings, along with a neighbourhood centre including a village hall and pre-school. The scheme, which represents phase one of the Manydown development, will follow the demolition of an existing vehicle repair centre, workshops and stable buildings.

READ MORE: Councillors agree purchase freehold of Manydown North land to get work started

Basingstoke Gazette: CGI of how the homes in Worting Park could lookThe plans have been approved despite concerns raised by Oakley Lodge, in Worting Road, which will back onto the development, in particular a number of flats.

Amy Ranger-Pitt, deputy regional director for Choice Care which runs the home, aired fears at a meeting of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s development control committee last month.

She said: “Our main concerns are the loss of amenities and privacy. The proposed apartments which are situated directly opposite our back garden will be overlooking directly into Oakley Lodge. The issue is the lack of privacy with them being so overlooked. 

“Some of our residents may be forced to move away due to the increase of noise, also due to the loss of privacy our residents will become closed in with high fences that will be required and curtains that may need to be permanently closed.”

Speaking in support of the developer - Cala - Catherine Miles from consultancy Pro Vision said: “Our vision is to create a sustainable place to live, work and play. We believe we have achieved this through our design concept which has embraced the heritage assets and assimilated the development into the landscape. Cala has designed each building carefully to respect the character of Worting and to reflect the local vernacular and characterful streets and inspirational buildings and spaces.”

SEE ALSO: Call for building work to not start until medical centre is guaranteed

The 18th-century walled garden at Worting Park will be improved to become a community garden where residents can "come together to socialise and grow fruit and vegetables". 

Councillors heard that only 31 per cent of the development will be affordable housing to make the scheme “viable” – usually it is 40 per cent.

Cllr Nicholas Robinson said: “Affordable housing, it is under our standard, I understand the reason that it is under our standard but from what I've been told no attempt has been made to make up that deficit through Homes England or another source, that could have been done, that should have been done.”

He also raised concerns about the orientation of the homes close to Oakley Lodge saying “it would be so easy to have all the windows facing east-west rather than south”.

Cllr Ronald Hussey highlighted that just three of the houses are for social rent, adding that the size and type of affordable homes is “disappointing”.

But Cllr Ken Rhatigan told the committee: “We as a council need to be a little bit more flexible, we need to see that sometimes social rent is far better than market rent and we need to accept that if you have to compromise somewhere it is better that you make sure that the living conditions within the site are as good as they can be.”

The committee approved the scheme, eight in favour, three against and one abstention.