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Battle to stop new homes near Baddesley Common and Emer Bog Nature Reserve is lost
CAMPAIGNERS have lost their battle to stop a housing estate being built next to two Hampshire nature reserves.
The decision has angered residents and conservation campaigners, hundreds of whom had signed a petition against the scheme.
The 37-home development has been earmarked for North Baddesley bordering the village common – a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI) and Emer Bog Nature Reserve, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
It was given the go-ahead by Test Valley Borough Council due to a shortage of homes in the south of the borough.
But resident Nicki Pickering said: “I am deeply saddened by what appears to be a growing ‘trend’ in approving housing development on designated countryside land “It appears that TVBC will give approval to developers on sites which previously would have been rejected in order to meet its current shortfall in housing land supply.”
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, which manages the nature reserves, said it was disappointed at the planning outcome.
Emer Bog is home to the slow-worm, common lizard, grass snake and adder as well as woodcock, w o o d l a r k , nightjar, tree pipit and skylark Head of conservation at the trust Clive Chatters said an adopted Borough Local Plan needs to be in place to protect environmentally sensitive areas.
Mr Chatters said: “There is a risk that if the plan has not dealt with conservation areas adequately then the government inspector will not approve it.
“This has happened recently in the New Forest and it has caused delays.
We don’t want delays in Test Valley, we need the plan and the plan needs to be adequate.”
Borough councillor for North Baddesley Celia Dowden, who voted against the plans for Baddesley Close, added: “We tried to fight the residents’ corner but despite two petitions with more than 200 signatures and about 50 letters of objection unfortunately this didn’t outweigh the shortage of land supply and councillors approved the plans.”
The application was approved by a single vote with eight councillors in favour and seven against.
Adam O’Brien of Burton Property said: “We are very pleased that several years’ work has now culminated in a tangible, quality development that we feel will bring several benefits for the local community. We look forward to moving the proposals forward.”
Burton hopes to start work on the planned development, which includes 21 three-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom and five four-bedroom homes next year.
Recreational facilities for children and dog walkers are also proposed.
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