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Final brick in the housing row?

THE final brick in the Manor Park housing row may be laid tomorrow with councillors set to give the go-ahead for 124 homes on the site.

THE final brick in the Manor Park housing row may be laid tomorrow with councillors set to give the go-ahead for 124 homes on the site.

Barratt Southern Counties has submitted amended plans for the controversial project, and these will be discussed at tomorrow night's development control committee.

The Manor Park saga began when Barratt bought the land in a £8.7million deal last September.

The firm originally wanted to build a 139-home estate on the annexe, prompting wides-pread anger among people living around Manor Park.

The council also opposed plans, claiming the develop-ment would be out of character with the sur-rounding area, dominate views from Church Lane East and harm the Manor Park conservation area.

Most of the issues were resolved earlier this year when Barratt submitted revised plans for a smaller 128-home development.

Councillors approved the principle of the scheme in June, with the design of the houses the only stumbling block. Officials had dismissed them as ‘bland'.

The issue was thrashed out at a three-day planning appeal at the Princes Hall, Aldershot, in July, with the government-appointed inspector coming down in favour of the council.

Barratts has now reduced the number of houses to 124, with a mixture of two, three and four bedroom homes, together with one and two bedroom flats.

There will be a new access to the site from Church Lane East, from a new roundabout at the junction with Brockenhurst Road.

Residents' group AMPLE has sent a detailed document to all councillors, outlining the reasons why they believe the application should be turned down.

AMPLE committee member Johanna Lance said she hoped councillors would take a close look at the report and raise their concerns during Wednesday's meeting.

She said: "We hope the document will show them that the proper planning process has not been followed.

"They could defer the decision until proper assessments have been made, such as provision of community facilities and full environmental screening. These areas have not been covered.

"Other than that, there are items in the new design that are the same as the previous one and have been rejected once before.

"We obviously hope that they do reject the application. However, if they do grant permission this time then we will take steps to make them accountable."

Cllr Eddie Poole, chairman of Rushmoor's development control committee, said: "I think that we have won a victory by reducing the number of houses from 139-124.

"With government guide-lines, I think that it the best that we can hope for. There is little we can do.

"I am very sorry that this is the situation, but until the government allows local authorities to control local matters, then we will always be in this situation."


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