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Bronze Age burial site campaigners confront developers

'Say no' posters were held outside a meeting in Yateley as developers presented plans to build 150 homes on an historic burial site

Campaigners turned up to object to the plans

Campaigners protested outside a council meeting this week as developers made a presentation on plans to build homes on an historic burial site.

Yellow ‘Say No’ posters were held up outside The Tythings in Yateley against plans to build 150 homes on land between Moulsham Lane and Broome Close , known as the Urnfield.

Yateley Urnfield Residents’ Action Group (YURAG) greeted representatives of Welbeck Strategic Land who gave a presentation at Yateley Town Council’s planning committee on July 21.

YURAG chairman Nick Godwin said: “The meeting lasted half-an-hour longer than anticipated, with lots of questions from town councillors and residents in the public gallery. Access, traffic and road safety; impact on services; and flooding, were the main concerns raised."

Mr Godwin said the information presented by Welbeck was no different to that at an exhibition in January, except the news a planning application is expected next month.

A Bronze Age burial site was found during gravel workings i n the fields in the 1920s, with remains taken to Reading Museum.

The 25-acre agricultural site has been on the radar of developers for years so Yateley resident Mr Godwin decided to launch the campaign group two years ago.

Mr Godwin said, once a planning application is submitted to Hart District Council, the action group will meet to discuss how to respond.

Councillor David Simpson, Hampshire County Councillor for Yateley, squeezed in to the meeting.

He said: “The meeting was packed with many people having to stand as there were no seats left.

“[Welbeck] was talking as if it was a done deal, that it would build on that land.

“Their expert on flooding, which is a major concern for us residents was, conveniently, not at the meeting.”

More than 250 people attended the earlier exhibition, with many not wanting the plans to go ahead and feeling the proposed development is not in the right place.

“I think it is an awful site to build on,” added Cllr Simpson.

Welbeck submitted a pre-planning application to the district council at the end of last year and the authority requested it undertake an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

On January 23, illustrations of how the site could look if it was turned into a housing estate, were unveiled at The Tythings at a public exhibition run by the developers.

Soon after, Welbeck appealed to the secretary of state against the request for an EIA and in April, it was told that one was not needed, paving the way for a full application.

A spokesman for Welbeck said: “We were grateful for the opportunity to present our masterplan proposals for the Moulsham Lane site to members of the town council on Monday evening.

“It was a well-attended and positive meeting which allowed us address questions from elected members and members of the public in a constructive atmosphere.

“A number of issues were raised during the meeting, such as a request for a new controlled crossing at the junction of Moulsham Lane and Reading Road.

“We will review those requests jointly with the relevant bodies, such as the highways authority, and consider how we can respond to them in our planning application, which we hope to submit in August.”

 

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