DEVELOPERS must be penalised for failing to build new homes after getting planning permission.

That’s the view of Test Valley councillor Alan Dowden, who believes it has led to the authority not meeting its housing targets.

Mr Dowden claims the council’s planning control commitee had no choice but to approve a scheme to build 32 dwellings next to the new 800-home Abbotswood village near Romsey.

He said: “Nobody wanted to approve the application, but we had no choice because of a shortfall in land available for housing. We’ve only got about four years’ land supply.

“If we refused it and the applicant appealed against the decision and won, Test Valley taxpayers would have had to pick up the bill.”

Applicant David Wilson Homes says it hopes to start building the 32 homes close to the former Chivers’ gravel pit at Sandy Lane, Belbins, this summer.

The development, on former garden and paddock land, will sit between Abbotswood and TVBC’s new dustcart depot at Bourne House.