Braishfield social housing scheme gains approval at the second attempt

A SOCIAL housing provider has won its battle to build nine affordable homes in a Test Valley village.

Borough councillors have given the green light to the latest scheme at Braishfield put forward by Hyde Housing Association.

In March, borough councillors deferred a decision on the homes near the Wheatsheaf pub, to allow Hyde amend the scheme.

The deferral decision angered objectors, as it came after councillors had already voted to reject the application.

A reduction in ridge and eave heights and the addition of chimneys on the cottages met with the approval of councillors.

However, Braishfield Village Association remains vehemently opposed to the project which, when built, will include five two-bedroom and four one-bedroom homes.

Braishfield Parish Council’s chairman, Mike Prince, told Tuesday’s meeting of the Southern Area Planning committee the proposed homes were great news for the village.

He said the redesign with a lower roof height was “more acceptable to the parish council”, which had objected to the first design.

Chairman of Braishfield Village Association, David Robinson, took a different view. He said many people in the village were against the choice of site, which “flies in the face” of the Village Design Statement.

Test Valley planners also received a 44-name petition supporting the proposed development and villager, Laura Bevan, told the committee that there was growing demand for affordable housing in Braishfield and in her opinion the site was acceptable.

During the debate, Test Valley’s deputy leader, Martin Hatley, whose ward covers Braishfield, said any site suggested would be at “odds” with the Village Design Statement and each application had to be decided on its own merit.

“There is probably no ideal site in the parish,” said Mr Hatley, supporting the scheme.

Valley Park’s Alan Dowden said: “There is clearly a need for this housing and I note that Braishfield Parish Council is supporting it by a big majority, so I am going to support it.” After the decision was taken Hyde Group’s head of rural projects Christopher Buchan-Hepburn said work on the development would start in the autumn and should be completed next summer.

“The proposed houses are a culmination of six years’ work with the parish council and community in selecting the location, housing mix and design.

“Hyde, in partnership with Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing and, in particular, Test Valley Borough Council, has worked closely with Braishfield Parish Council to help it achieve its goal of providing the village with affordable housing for local people.”

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