PLANNING permission to build a farmhouse in Upper Woodcott has been refused by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

The application, which was submitted by Mr and Mrs Opperman on February 23, 2023, sought permission to build a farmhouse, garage and farm building on agricultural land to the north of Whitchurch called Crux Easton Farm.

A lodge had previously been built on the land, however, a fire destroyed the lodge, leaving only parts of the original structure.

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The plans for the farmhouse at Crux Easton Farms (Image: Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council)

The application stated that the proposed development would create a new building of 'exceptional design quality' with the buildings 'fully integrated with a landscape design'.

It continued: "The architecture proposed is both unique and traditional, using local materials and fine-scale detailing." 

Residents expressed mixed opinions about the application, with eight supporting and four objecting to the proposals.

Anthony Lowry, a Crux Easton resident, said: "It was such a shame to see the old keepers cottage burnt down but what is proposed as its replacement is inspired and not your normal brick and flint mansion."

Joanna Strong, from Binley Bottom, objected to the plans, saying: "This application is well away from any other settlement and will disturb precious flora and fauna in this very undeveloped part of the AONB, fundamentally contravening its ethos."

The application was recommended for refusal by planning officers as it would fall 'outside of the settlement Policy Boundary' as well as being situated in a 'prominent location' which 'would cause irreversible harm to the intrinsic rural character and appearance [of the area]'.

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The recommendation added: "The development would not be sympathetic nor enhance the character or visual amenities of the area and can not be successfully integrated within the landscape and surroundings."

During a development control committee meeting on June 12, Cllr Paul Miller challenged the recommendation, saying 'there is no way you could describe it as prominent, in the landscape, it's not prominent'. 

Cllr Angie Freeman said she was 'extremely disappointed to see that there are no plans in there for things like solar panels' adding she thinks it 'will have an impact on the views' in the North Wessex Downs, moving a motion for refusal.

The committee decided to refuse the application, with eight members in favour of refusal, and two against.