Developer defends plan for 100 extra homes on former barracks site due to under-provision of affordable homes and over-supply of employment land
Fresh plans to build 100 more homes on the former Queen Elizabeth Barracks (QEB) in Church Crookham have been thrown out.
Taylor Wimpey wanted to build the extra homes on land earmarked for 7,500sqm of office space, backing its bid by citing an under-provision of affordable homes and an over-supply of employment land across the district.
A similar bid was thrown out by Hart District Council in May last year.
But the developer submitted a new application, which Hart’s planning committee was being recommended to back on Wednesday (August 14).
Officers pointed out the overall site was allocated for a residentially led mixed-use development in the council’s Local Plan and would reduce the likelihood of other, especially greenfield sites, being released for housing.
But the committee refused the application, ruling the loss of employment land was contrary to a policy in its local plan and the application was likely to have a significant adverse effect on the nearby Special Protection Area.
The latest plan had come under fire from Janice and David Hall, who have been living in front of the ex-Gurkha camp ever since they married more than 37 years ago.
They warned: “Approval of this planned development would mean a severe reduction in the local quality of life, something which is highly valued by current residents and was certainly, as far as we are concerned, a major reason for settling here originally.
“Not only would it place an intolerable burden on the local infrastructure including roads, schools, doctors’ surgeries and other local services, it would also create havoc with the local wildlife.”
Church Crookham Parish Council has also objected, warning: “This planning application is not just a request for an additional 100 houses. It makes a basic change to the nature of the development as a whole.
“It moves it from being a balanced sustainable development to a housing estate that ignores the broader needs of the community and government.”
The parish council said a recent survey demonstrated that the majority of the population of Church Crookham wanted more local employment.
Councillors warned the additional traffic and people that a further 100 homes would bring would have a "serious" impact on the already over-stretched infrastructure and ecology.
Fleet Town Council has also objected, warning the proposals would have a negative impact on transport infrastructure and education.
Taylor Wimpey pointed out documents produced by Hart reveal the district does not have a five-year housing land supply, while it does have an over-supply of office space.
It added Hart is in an area of high housing demand and quoted figures showing a combined need of 1,100 affordable housing and open market homes in the district every 12 months.
Taylor Wimpey also said its proposal would provide 40 affordable units, along with a range of 60 open market homes, making a “substantial and essential” addition to the district’s housing supply.
It added the redevelopment of the site for housing rather than employment would bring a number of benefits, including additional developer contributions.
The guarantee of sufficient funding for a new infant school through such a scheme and better traffic flow were key concerns expressed by the local residents and councillors, added Taylor Wimpey.