A ROMSEY councillor has accused planning officers of showing disrespect towards him and fellow members over proposals for more than 40 homes in the town.
Test Valley borough councillor Peter Hurst labelled the recommendation of approval for a 46-home development on Braishfield Road as disrespectful towards the Planning Committee. The outline application for the same scheme had been refused just seven-months before by the same committee members.
However, officers defended their recommendation claiming the new plans, which adjoin the previously permitted Ganger Farm development, show more information and detail than the previous application and so should be judged separately.
But Cllr Hurst, member for Romsey Tadburn, was unhappy that the recommendation had been put forward.
One issue brought up at the Southern Area Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday evening was that the previously refused outline planning application is currently part of an appeal process.
Many councillors at the meeting were perplexed why this new, more detailed planning application was being considered when the original was being appealed by applicant David Wilson Homes.
“This is a very difficult decision,” said Cllr Hurst.
“It would seem to me that we have a previous decision on this application and I intend to stick with it.
“We should let the appeal run its course first, and I have to say I do feel slightly bothered that we refused the outline application and then the detailed plans come to committee as if we had never seen it in the first place.
“It is disrespectful in my opinion, especially as our previous decision, the decision of the council, seems to have been overlooked by the officers.”
The application, which was refused by all members bar one, included an allocation of 18 affordable homes.
But Chris Wesson, chairman of Romsey Extra Parish Council, said the scheme should be refused as it was proposed on a greenfield site.
Mr Wesson added: “We as a parish council cannot understand why the application is up (for an approval) recommendation, bearing in mind that this committee has already refused the outline plan.”
It was heard that more than 100 letters of objection were received for the application.
Michael Stubbs, of the Braishfield Village Association, added: “The area has now had its fair share of housing and a halt must be called to retain the rural tranquility of the area.”
Nevertheless, Stuart Goodwill, head of planning for David Wilson, argued that as other neighbouring sites had been given approval then councillors should also approve this one.
“This location is sustainable and suitable for housing,” Mr Goodwill added.
“The difference between the schemes is the detail in the plan; all landscaping experts, including the council’s landscape officer, have agreed that there are no landscaping impacts.”
It is not yet known if the applicant will also appeal this decision.