The last couple of months has brought two pieces of good news – welcome as we enter December and the Christmas season.
In October we heard that the developer’s planning appeal for the Noah’s Ark development had been dismissed. Interestingly the commentary made much of the potential impact on the countryside and that, with a five year land supply in place, development should not occur outside the settlement boundary. Quite a dramatic change from the “concrete over the fields” interpretation of the NPPF that seemed to be in place last year.
In November the Planning Inspectorate dismissed the appeal by the developer Hurlock Invesments Ltd. on the land to the rear of 131 Winchester Road (i.e. the SINC). This Site of Importance for Nature Conservation is threatened by the development of Medstead Farm which cuts its wildlife off from open farmland (perhaps I’m being too sceptical about the effectiveness of the provided “deer paths” and dormouse bridges? …. no!).
The planning inspector concluded “that the proposed development would cause harm to the SINC and would fail to protect the hazel dormice. It would be in conflict with Policy CP21 which amongst other things seeks to maintain, enhance and protect district wide biodiversity and to protect and, where appropriate, strengthen populations of protected species. “
The Inspector also noted that the proposed development would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area turning it from a semi-rural into a suburban environment.
Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the last planning application or appeal that threatens the Winchester Road SINC, given developer’s greed, but for the moment the wildlife has had a reprieve.
A very Happy Christmas to you all.
Unsurprisingly CALA Homes’ success in appealing against refusal of planning permission to develop in Lymington Bottom has led to more appeals by other developers. The planning inspector’s decision in that case was that EHDC did not have enough homes approved to meet its target over the next few years – called a five year housing supply – something the council refutes.
The Noah’s Ark (Telegraph Lane) planning refusal has been appealed (see here) and representations have to be in by 13th August (next Thursday). The appeal is being heard in Four Marks Village Hall on the 2nd September. Please make your opposition known – the more representations received by the inspector and the more people who attend the hearing then the more likely it is that the appeal will be refused.
Hurlock Investments Limited, the developer who had their planning application for the land to rear of 131 Winchester Road refused (i.e. the SINC site) has also appealed. The details are here – representations have to be in by 10th September and can be made on their website. The hearing will be held on the 29th September.
The SINC site wildlife is already threatened by the Medstead Farm development which is cutting the wildlife corridor to open countryside. This appeal if successful, alongside proposed development in Gloucester Close, will build high density housing around the SINC and destroy the habitat of badgers and dormice.
Please take the time before September 10th to object to to the planning inspectorate and lets try to stop this developer from destroying the SINC.
The outline planning application to build on the land next to the Winchester Road SINC has been refused by the council planning department. The decision was taken through delegated powers and did not come to the Planning Committee.
The decision notice is here.
The reasons for refusal include:
- unjustified development outside the settlement boundary
- adds to the “overperformance” (40% over minimum) in terms of new houses required by the Joint Core strategy
- detrimental impact on protected species, specifically hazel dormice (inadequate mitigation measures), and loss of tree with TPO
- “urban” housing density out of character with surroundings
It is excellent that the ecological issues have been included by EHDC in their reasons for refusal despite Natural England accepting the totally inadequate mitigation (which actually involved the destruction of hedgerow proposed as mitigation for the adjoining Charles Church development!).
Hopefully this means that the ecological impact of developments, particularly the preservation of protected species, will have a greater weight in future decisions.