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Just 'Say No' rallying cry in battle of the Urnfield

Laminated posters reading 'Say No' are being distributed as Yateley campaigners try to block plans for 150 new homes

A campaign group is preparing to launch a 'Say No' initiative in a bid to fight plans to build 150 homes on a historic site in Yateley.

Yateley Urnfield Residents Action Group (YURAG) will distribute 3,000 leaflets to homes in Yateley as soon as a planning application has been submitted to Hart District Council.

Last week the protest group put up posters around the town highlighting what the developers, Welbeck Strategic Land, want to do with the land known to locals as the Urnfield.

It follows a public exhibition on January 23 which detailed proposals to build one and two-bedroom apartments plus family homes on the 25-acre agricultural site between Moulsham Lane and Chandlers Lane.

Tony Buckle, member of YURAG said: “We have A4 laminated posters that read ‘Say No’.

“We want residents to express their views and the posters also give residents the opportunity to contact YURAG. We already have 250 people supporting our campaign.”

Posters have already been put up in roads including Moulsham Lane and Vicarage Road. As well as 150 homes, Welbeck wants to create a recreation space, 230 spaces for cars, plus improvements to Moulsham Lane to allow safe pedestrian paths and improvements to the existing flood risk issues in that area.

Members of YURAG next to the site earmarked for housing
 

It is one of a number of housing developments currently being proposed in Hart.

On March 14 a public meeting took place in Hook which James Arbuthnot, MP for North East Hampshire, and Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke, attended.

The meeting, arranged by neighbouring campaign group Hook Action Against Over-development, saw around 350 people turn up.

Mr Buckle said: “Over-development is clearly a big issue, not just in Yateley, but in other areas in Hart.”

Earlier this month, the campaign group made a Powerpoint presentation on the history of the site to Yateley Town Council’s annual general meeting

A Bronze Age burial site was found during gravel workings in the fields in the 1920s with remains taken to Reading Museum. The site has also been known as the “Ash-Hole” field since the 1800s, indicating finds were documented in that period.

Mr Buckle, who acts as chairman for the nature and wildlife sub-committee of YURAG, added: “In winter it is a feeding ground for flocks of fieldfare and redwings.

“Both are on the red list of birds of conservation concern. In summer it attracts swifts and martins that feed on the airborne insects.

“Bats also feed on insects in the Urnfield.”

Welbeck submitted a pre-planning application to the district council at the end of last year. The council has requested that Welbeck undertake an environmental impact assessment.

The developers have appealed to the secretary of state against this request and are currently awaiting a decision.

A spokesman for Welbeck said: “We continue to work on the detail of our proposals following the public exhibition in January, with a view to submitting a planning application shortly.”

 

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