The residents of HIGHCLERE were celebrating this week after plans to build 26 houses in the village were unanimously rejected.
At a borough council meeting, the development control committee rejected plans to build the houses on a pristine site off Andover Road, on the grounds that it would have a significant impact on the surrounding area of ââbeauty. Outstanding Natural Area of ââNorth Wessex Downs (AONB).
Development company JPP Land had hoped to build the houses on an initially targeted site five years ago, when the company refused to plan 50 houses.
The program received a boost last week after planning officers recommended it for approval, saying it would not result in “material damage to the landscaping and scenic beauty of Highclere.”
However, despite the fact that the borough council was under pressure to build around 900 housing units each year until 2039 and unable to demonstrate a supply of housing and land over five years, the committee unanimously rejected the request. , choosing instead to protect the AONB and citing the climate emergency the council said.
In a debate before the vote, Councilor Angie Freeman (Lab, Winklebury & Manydown) said this was not an “appropriate application” due to the lack of sustainable transport links.
She said: âWe have declared a climate emergency and we are supposed to support sustainable development.
“We should not approve of developments that do not have sustainable transport links.”
Councilor Paul Harvey (Ind, Norden) added: âI think the integrity of the AONB is compromised by the ladder.
“A 13% increase in the settlement total has a significant impact on Highclere.”
The committee heard from two of Evingar’s ward councilors, Graham Falconer (Con) and John Izett (Con), both of whom strongly condemned the project.
Mr Falconer asked why town planners recommended the project for approval, pointing to a borough council decision in August this year to deny an application for nine houses on a brownfield site in Headley on the grounds that it was in the AONB.
He said: “I find it hard to see why anyone would seek approval of this request, especially as the revised National Planning Policy framework would appear to give more protection to the new Highclere site, which is at the heart of the AONB. “
Mr Izett added: “It is a measure of our concern about this matter that for the first time Councilor Falconer and I have wished to address this committee.
âHighclere is a small, rural settlement located entirely within the North Wessex Downs AONB – to allow this huge development by Highclere standards would tear the AONB apart.
“I understand that agents are under pressure to find more housing in the absence of a five-year supply of housing land, but this is not the right site.”
The committee also heard from Highclere Parish Council Chairman Brad Norton, who said the development was “unsustainable” and would result “in material damage to the valuable AONB and bring no economic or environmental benefit” to parish.
JPP Land was represented by Douglas Bond, who said the project was a “sensitive, high-quality residential development” that would provide “much-needed market housing” while ensuring that “the private amenities of neighboring properties are protected”.