HAMPSHIRE villagers are claiming they are being ‘blackmailed’ by a developer which has added a scout hut to its plans.

Foreman Homes proposes 150 houses, a new scout hut as well as community space, off-site parking and some natural green space on a five-hectare site in Titchfield.

However, some residents claim that, by adding in a scout hut, the developers are trying to bribe the residents into endorsing the development.

At a recent consultation, villagers said the scheme would create more traffic and noise pollution and have a negative effect on the village’s status as a conservation area.

Nick Girdler, inset, chairman of the Titchfield Village Trust, said: “The developers know they would have to, if outline planning permission was granted, give something back to the local community.

“If they are granted outline planning permission, and that’s a big if, then they are using the plans to build the scout hut as a form of blackmail.”

The 1st Titchfield Sea Scouts said, as a response to the Foreman Homes consultation, they had suggested that the proposed development included a purpose-built Scout HQ. They claim the facility could be used for the benefit of the village as a community Hub.

A spokesperson for the Scout Group said: “We are pleased to see that the latest version of the development plan contains a building that could be used in such a way but still needs further work to make it a usable community space.

“We look forward to future discussions with the developers to see if the plans can be developed further to meet the needs all those in the community.”

Ann Wheal, chairwoman of the Titchfield Neighbourhood Forum, said: “The local facilities and infrastructure which would not be able to cope with any more people moving to the area. We want somewhere for our kids to be able to live in the village and the developers are using the scout hut to sweeten the deal with locals.”

Geoff Hockley, county councillor for Titchfield, said he has no view on the development but after talking to local residents they are concerned that the developers were more interested in what they wanted rather than what the local community wanted.

In response, Foreman Homes’ planning director, Steve Carrington said: “This proposal stems from discussions with Titchfield residents and therefore seeks to deliver what those local people have requested of us: aside from the much-needed housing.

“We are also looking to create a new scout hut, a community garden, and a vast swathe of public open space too,

all of which is to be set within a very well-landscaped area.

“While we have only applied in ‘outline’ at this stage, we look forward to working with the local populace to ensure that what is eventually built-out is every bit as good as it possibly can be.”