Homes development approved despite protestBy Stephen Lloyd
November 20, 2012
PLANS to build up to 89 homes on open fields on the edge of an historic town have finally been approved, despite a storm of protest.
Hart District Council has backed the development on land next to Hatchwood Place, off Farnham Road in Odiham.
The council received 117 letters of objection, warning the proposed density was too great and the development was out of keeping with the area.
Odiham Parish Council objected, saying alternative sites were available that were more acceptable and would have less impact on a conservation area.
It added a substantially reduced number of homes on the same footprint would produce a much more attractive and liveable feel to the area.
“The sketches suggest the houses will be dull and unimaginative, and have few meaningful and accurate references to Odiham’s built heritage,” the parish council warned.
“This is the eastern gateway to Odiham, and if it is to be developed, Odiham deserves better.”
Hart received six letters backing the scheme.
They pointed out the affordable housing proposed would be of benefit, the site was outside the conservation area and the development would have no architectural impact on the historic centre of Odiham.
Hart’s planning committee backed the scheme in principle but because the site was outside Odiham settlement boundary it would have been a departure from the council’s Local Plan and had to go before full council for a decision.
The committee recommended full council grant permission, but Odiham ward councillors Ken Crookes and Stephen Gorys ‘called in’ the decision so it could be debated. They called for the application to be referred to the planning committee to reconsider points made by the Odiham Society, Odiham Parish Council and residents about protecting the conservation area and to take into account results of the parish council’s resident consultation on preferred sites.
But despite their efforts, full council approved the application.
Cllr Crookes said: “Stephen and I will insist the Odiham Society and the parish council have a say on details of the design and layout – none of which has been agreed – so we can, together, get the best possible outcome given the development will take place.”
Hook-based chartered town planners Bell Cornwell, acting as agent for Stax Development Ltd, said the scheme meets the fundamental aims of the 12 core planning principles and had been modified.