AN environmental impact assessment will not be carried out on land at Nursling earmarked for more than 300 homes.
This is despite desperate pleas from five Conservative members of Test Valley’s southern area planning committee for an environmental impact assessment of the site off Redbridge Lane.
Conservatives, Caroline Nokes, Danny Busk, Phil Bundy, Nigel Anderdon and Alison Finlay all voted in favour of a survey being done.
But 10 fellow councillors refused to support them at Tuesday’s committee meeting, arguing there was no need for it to be done.
Planning officer, Mark Wyatt, told the committee that the site had a capacity for 350 homes. This was 50 on top of what had already proposed by the applicants, Turley Associates.
Mr Wyatt said committee members were not debating a planning application for housing, but just deciding whether such a development would be likely to have significant environmental impacts to the degree that a study was needed. ‘It’s very unusual for something like this to come before committee.
“Natural England has said it doesn’t need an EIA. We have to provide clear and precise information to say whether an EIA is needed or not,’ said the officer.
During the debate, Danny Busk queried whether the increase in the number of proposed homes would trigger an EIA requirement and Caroline Nokes expressed her concerns about not carrying out one, putting out that that part of the land had been designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.
Phil Bundy warned that it would be a big mistake not to have an environmental survey. “The officers say an EIA is not justified, but I believe it is,” said Mr Bundy. Nigel Anderdon said a “belt and braces” approach should be taken and a survey done.