CAMPAIGNERS cheered as a plan for 200 homes on the edge of Basingstoke was unanimously thrown out by councillors.
The scheme for the homes at Kiln Farm – a 23-hectare plot between Popley and Sherborne St John – was voted down by members of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council ’s development control committee.
The plan was put forward by David Wilson Homes Southern and the “no” vote came just weeks after the same company’s application to build 450 homes on the Kiln Farm site was also rejected.
Popley West ward member Councillor Jane Frankum, who was bitterly opposed to the plan, said after the decision: “I think it has been a fantastic team effort by the residents of Popley and Sherborne St John. It feels a bit like David versus Goliath, and David has won.”
A 50-strong group of protestors from Sherborne St John turned up outside the Civic Offices and made plain their opposition to the plans as councillors arrived for last Wednesday’s meeting. Following the decision, Cllr John Leek, borough member for Sherborne St John, said: “I am delighted for the residents of my ward. I am delighted that the landscape will remain as we all know it.”
Paul Crisipin, managing director of David Wilson Homes Southern said the company was “disappointed that the application has been refused despite the officers recommending approval”. He added it was too early to say whether the company would appeal the decision.
The application was turned down on the grounds of loss of countryside, traffic congestion fears, destruction of wildlife, and poor infrastructure.
Criticising the homes bid, Susan Denness, chairman of the Popley Islands Community Group, said Popley had suffered from too much development over the past 10 years. “We feel like we have been broken up, walked over, and left for dead.” She added: “How much longer are we expected to stand by and see the land around us desecrated?”
Since David Wilson Homes unveiled the masterplan in February – 450 homes on Kiln Farm, built in two phases of 200 and 250 homes – more than 273 people have written to the council objecting, and two protest petitions have been submitted.
Mr Crispin said the development would bring 100 jobs, a scheme to train apprentices, and the borough would get £1.7million of the Government’s New Homes Bonus grant. “The scheme will provide a ring of affordable family homes,” he said.
During the debate, committee member Cllr Brian Gurden said: “I have to say I am personally in favour of more houses in Basingstoke. However, I have to say I think this particular site is not appropriate.”