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Controversial Baddesley homes plan passed by one vote
8:17am Friday 20th September 2013 in News
CAMPAIGNERS have lost their fight to stop 37 homes being built near two nature reserves at North Baddesley.
Test Valley’s southern area planning committe voted 8-7 to approve Burton Property Ventures controversial scheme at Baddesley Close, bordering the village common – a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI) and Emer Bog Nature Reserve, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
A shocked villager, who listened to Tuesday’s debate, said she was totally dismayed by the decision, which hinged on a shortage of housing land stock.
Nicki Pickering said: “I am deeply saddened by what appears to be a growing trend in approving housing development on designated countryside land. It appears TVBC will give approval to developers on sites which previously would have been rejected in order to meet its current shortfall in housing land supply.”
Putting the blame firmly at the borough’s door, Niki continued: “Due to lack of management of housing supply, allowing developers to delay building approved homes at Abbotswood and in the case of Romsey Brewery, not even building to capacity, TVBC are now having to make up this shortage by allowing developments of unsuitable sites. Our countryside is protected no longer. A win-win for developers who not only helped create the shortfall but will continue to profit from it, disgusting.”
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust which manages the nature reserves said it was disappointed at the outcome. Head of Conservation at the trust, Clive Chatters, said an adopted Borough Local Plan needs to be in place to protect environmentally sensitive areas.
Mr Chatters said: “There is a risk that if the plan has not dealt with conservation areas adequately then the government inspector will not approve it. This has happened recently in the New Forest District and it has caused delays. We don’t want delays in Test Valley, we need the plan and the plan needs to be adequate.”
Borough councillor for North Baddesley Celia Dowden, who voted against the scheme, said: “The vote was a close call and I think that if it wasn’t approved at this meeting it would have been by the Planning Control Committee. We tried to fight the residents’ corner but despite two petitions with more than 200 signatures and about 50 letters of objection this didn’t outweigh the shortage of land supply and councillors approved the plans.”
Adam O'Brien of Burton Property said, “We are very pleased that several years' work has now culminated in a tangible, quality development that we feel will bring several benefits for the local community.”
Burton hopes to start work on the development, which includes 21 three-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom and five four-bedroom homes next year. Recreational facilities for children and dog walkers are also proposed.
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