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Hawley Park Farm exhibition displays plans for 126 homes

Developers have staged an exhibition on its controversial scheme to build 126 homes at Hawley Park Farm near Blackwater

Campaigners are against the Hawley Park farm development

An exhibition has introduced residents to the details of a controversial scheme to build 126 homes at Hawley Park Farm near Blackwater.

The exhibition at Holy Trinity Church in Fernhill Road on July 2 is a prelude to an expected formal application to Hart District Council.

It is proposed that 50 of the new homes would be made available for socially-rented housing, and that half the 26-acre site would remain open in the form of Suitable Alternative Natural Green-space (SANG).

Vehicles would access the proposed site from Fernhill Lane.

A campaign group has been launched to fight the proposals, and more than 100 angry residents gathered for a meeting last month at the Memorial Hall. Oliver Kubicki, of developers Lightwood Strategic, claimed that local people’s concerns were unfounded.

“It’s understandable that people don’t like development near them,” he said. “We’ve had a mixture of responses at this exhibition.

“We feel the concerns can be mitigated.”

Mr Kubicki said the 126 homes would go towards Hart’s housing supply, which was needed as the council’s draft local plan did not meet the housing need.

He said fears over the coalescence of Hawley and Blackwater were groundless, as the boundary would be protected by a strategic gap.

Most people who objected were worried about traffic.

Mandy Annalls, a Fernhill Lane resident for 13 years, said: “I’m definitely objecting, as the lane is already a nightmare. People who don’t live there drive up and down at 40mph or 50mph.

“Unless they widen it, it’s gong to be a big problem. It’s sad really. If I had wanted to move to a housing estate I would have done.”

Tony Camal, of Hawley Road, said the speed limit on Fernhill Lane would have to be cut to 30mph if the houses were built. He said he would like to see more police and community wardens if the plan is approved.

Campaign group member Chris Howe, whose house backs onto the proposed site, also highlighted the issue of security. He has been burgled six times in the past 10 years and believes the development would make it even easier for burglars.

He criticised Hart’s decision not to demand an Environmental Impact Assessment on the site, despite it being a designated conservation area.

 

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