UPDATE – Planning application coming to EDHC Planning Committee

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a peaceful countryside walk ….. but for how long?

David Wilson Homes (DWH) are seeking permission to build on the Barn Lane site. The proposed development will link directly with Meadowbrook (Barratts) and Brislands Lane. If permission is granted, we fear there is a real danger that ‘urban sprawl’ will spread rapidly down the hill towards Ropley. In our opinion this would be a disaster for both villages.

At a more local level, residents of Four Marks would no longer be able to enjoy country walks along Barn Lane. Instead, they would find themselves admiring one of the largest high-density housing estates in East Hampshire. How can unchecked urban sprawl, wholly outside the Settlement Policy Boundary, be considered part of a sustainable future for Four Marks?

Please put Thursday 18th September 2014 [6.30pm] in your diary. We understand that this application is not going to be on the 18th September agenda but should be on the 9th October agenda. The Committee usually meets at the EHDC offices at Penns Place, Petersfield. The agenda should appear here a week before the meeting.

It is important that there is a strong show of support  for refusing this application on the day. This will show councillors the strength of local feeling against this massive development.

We understood, initially, that the DWH application was to come in front of the Committee in late July, but there have been several delays. We are aware that a meeting took place between DWH and a local scout group. Apparently an agenda item was to discuss possible financial support for a new scout hut! We are sure DWH do not need reminding that EHDC has specific guidelines and  process for managing developer contributions towards local infrastructure. Unacceptable planning applications cannot be made acceptable through ‘out of proportion’ developer contributions.

All involved should be operating within well-established guidelines. Transparency is key. We urge the whole village to watch developments with keen interest; please do let us know if you hear any further relevant news.

 

……. and then there were none!

100 years ago the common dormouse was, as its name suggests, commonly found across all of England and Wales.  But recent surveys show that dormice have been lost from many counties and are predominantly concentrated in hotspots in southern England and the borders. The common dormice is no longer common – it is a European Protected Species supposedly protected by the law. Despite this protection the dormice population has continued to decline in recent years – see the People’s Trust for Endangered Species website for more details and what you can do.

Happily dormice are found in the hedgerows and woods around Four Marks. Less happily the way that East Hampshire DC seem to apply Natural England’s “Standing Advice” is leading to the slow eradication of dormice in the western part of Four Marks. In  five years time they, and we, will discover to our horror that there are no longer any dormice but all the “boxes” will have been ticked in terms of license terms agreed to  and mitigation actions being taken by the developer.

The county ecologists should be considering the collective impact of all the actual and proposed development  rather than considering each proposed development in isolation. Taking a “box ticking” approach to assessing the impact of developments on dormice allows developers protection against prosecution while providing no protection to the dormouse.

Look at this real example from  the Medstead Farm development off Brislands Lane. The picture is of a dormouse bridge!

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The builders destroyed the ancient hedgerow (shame about the dormice known to be living there) and have put this in its place. It is not connected to the hedgerow, is enormously high,  unlike any branch you’ve ever seen and would require a dormouse to be equipped with rope and crampons to make it over . But although there is no evidence that dormice bridges are used by dormice this is seen as an acceptable mitigation and a box is ticked.

Please see the case for looking at the accumulative impact on dormice for more examples of how developers and East Hampshire DC are escaping accountability while driving dormice towards extinction.