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Housing estate refused for former barracks site

Safety concerns have led to plans for 150 homes on the Guillemont Barracks site to be rejected by councillors, who overturned a recommendation to green-light the application

New homes
A housing estate has been refused

Concerns over safe access to a proposed housing estate between Farnborough and Fleet have resulted in the controversial plans being unanimously rejected.

Members of Rushmoor Borough Council's development control committee met on Wednesday April 2 to go over the plans for a large estate of 150 homes on the former barracks site next to Guillemont Park, off Minley Road, with a access road from Sandy Lane.

The Bellway Homes application was also submitted to Hart District Council as the site falls into both local authority areas, with 48 homes in Rushmoor and 102 in Hart. Approval from both councils is needed.

Planning permission was granted in 1999 to build more office buildings adjacent to those already existing in Guillemont Park, also known as Sun Park, and steel structures were put in place. This work was started but left unfinished.

The Bellway application sought to demolish these and build houses rather than office space.

Despite being recommended for approval by council officers, the plans were criticised by Rushmoor councillors. While welcoming the much-needed housing, of which 40% would be affordable, the committee members voted to refuse planning permission on the grounds that the proposed access off Sandy Lane was unsafe.

Emma Baker, who spoke on behalf of residents, said there was already congestion at Sandy Lane around Guillemont Junior School.

"This is about lives and the ability to travel safely for school children and the general public," she said.

The plans included additional car parking for the school, but this was deemed insufficient to abate the problems caused by heavy traffic at drop-off times. Visibility at the point of the proposed access road was also found to be inadequate.

James McConnaught, planning director at Bellway Homes, argued that redevelopment of the 'idle' buildings would bring many benefits to the area.

Cllr Bruce Thomas described the application as viable 'on the face of it', but said: "I believe the additional traffic flow in and out of Sandy Lane will only add to the potential for accidents."

Chairman of the committee Gareth Lyon suggested that a decision be deferred to allow an independent assessment of the site to be carried out, but this idea was rejected by members in favour of throwing out the plans immediately.

Members of Hart's planning committee are due to discuss the plans on Wednesday April 9.

 
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