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Apartments plan for Ham and Blackbird withdrawn

A spokesman for the developer behind plans to build apartments at the Ham and Blackbird pub said it was working on "revised plans" for the site after withdrawing its original proposals

The Ham and Blackbird Pub, Farnborough

Developers have withdrawn their planning application to redevelop the Ham and Blackbird pub in Farnborough.

Inland Homes announced the decision to build 62 apartments along with a commercial area for a café, bar or community space back in February.

Despite a majority of residents criticising the plan, Inland Homes went ahead and submitted a planning application. However, last week it withdrew the application.

Keith Holland, head of planning at Rushmoor Borough Council, said: “Although they have not told us why the application has been withdrawn it could have something to do with some of the outstanding issues surrounding the redevelopment.

“Normally people talk to us before they submit their application and are made aware of these, but this time, for whatever reason, they didn’t.”

There are three fundamental factors which might have played a role in the withdrawal of the application. Firstly, the access to the site is on a busy roundabout, which could cause further congestion along the Farnborough Road and Union Street, which also leads out from Farnborough railway station.

There is also the policy of affordable housing, which must be addressed when new housing is on the agenda.

No referral was made by the applicant to whether the housing would be affordable and no review was submitted to the council.

Finally, certain areas are categorised as under special protection from the council and the site of the Ham and Blackbird is one of these.

In this case, planning applications can still be submitted but the developer must pay a contribution towards the special protection.

Once again, there was no communication between the council and the applicant as to how this would be covered.

Inland Homes’ agent dealing with the process was the Gregory Grey Association based in Fleet.

Earlier, there was some controversy when Inland Homes, cut down and trimmed parts of trees around the site, which some councillors believed would put pedestrians and motorists at risk.

The unrest between Inland Homes and the council continued when Cllr Gareth Lyon accused it of attempting to bypass planning rules as the desire to retain the trees could not be used as grounds for refusing an application.

On Wednesday (August 27), an Inland Homes spokesman said: “We are working on revised designs for the site that will respond to the various comments made during the consultation process.

“We think this is a great opportunity to create a high-quality development, enhancing the gateway to Farnborough and providing much needed new homes alongside a fantastic new community centre. We hope to submit a fresh application in the near future.”

Previously, Inland Homes organised an open exhibition to show residents exactly what its plans for the redevelopment were, but this received a generally negative response from the public.

 
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