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Developer fights third refusal for 'garden-grabbing' homes

Objectors to the planning appeal say the scheme is an example of 'garden-grabbing' and that there is a flooding risk

Battle lines have been drawn in the fight over a third ‘garden-grabbing’ scheme to build family homes in a quiet cul-de-sac.

Camberley-based Dolphin Head Group has appealed against a decision by Hart District Council to refuse permission for three, four-bedroom homes to be built on land behind numbers eight, 10 and 12 Hollytrees, in Church Crookham. Hart received 59 letters of objection to the scheme, which one respondent branded ‘garden-grabbing of the worst kind’.

Residents had warned the gardens at the back of the houses all border on to a small stream, which flooded in July 2007 after heavy rain. Locals said the land flooded again this month following the recent stormy weather.

Hart threw out the application in September last year, ruling the siting and layout of the proposed development would be out of keeping and harmful to the character and appearance of the area.

It also said the proposed access, by virtue of its closeness to numbers eight and 10 Hollytrees, would result in an unacceptable level of noise and disturbance from vehicles. But Dolphin Head Group lodged its request to reverse the decision, which is being dealt with by way of written representations.

In its appeal, Hook-based Bell Cornwell Chartered Town Planners, acting as agents for the applicant, said the proposed development was ‘entirely in keeping’ with the character of the area.

“The existing large gardens forming the application site are, if anything, out of character with the area”, it added.

“The development itself will be set well back from the street scene and will be at a lower level, so will not be seen above the Hollytrees dwellings”.

The company added ‘significant work’ and modelling had proved the site is not prone to flooding and is suitable for development.

“It is a frequent misconception that development results in more flooding”, states the appeal submission.

“In this case, not only will the development introduce a mechanism through which rainfall is collected, and its drainage into the ground is managed (it currently falls on to the land), but it will also introduce flood management on the site.

“It is frustrating that the local residents cannot see this proposal as an opportunity for flooding issues to be managed and therefore the threat of flooding reduced.”

In 2007 Dolphin Head Group submitted a planning application to build four homes on the land, accessed by a small road between numbers eight and 10.

It was rejected due to the flood risk, poor access and the design and style being out of keeping.

A second application, this time for three houses, was refused in 2011 after Hart planners ruled it would not complement neighbouring properties, would result in an unacceptable level of noise and disturbance, and create a flood risk.

One Hollytrees resident, who preferred not to be named, said: “There has been huge opposition to this development as it is garden-grabbing of the worst kind.”

He added the third application did not appear to have overcome any of the previous issues.

A planning inspector is due to visit the site on January 21 before writing his report.

 

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