CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating following the news that nearly 100 homes will no longer be built near Winchester.

A public inquiry date into Gladman Developments’ appeal over a 90-home development in Otterbourne was set for August 1.

But the developers have withdrawn their appeal following hundreds of campaigners who rallied against the scheme.

The homes off Main Road were originally thrown out by planners at the city council in November last year.

The development was refused on the grounds that it would be "detrimental" to the landscape and rural setting of the village, and that it would extend development outside the built-up area of Otterbourne into an area of countryside.

Steve Brine MP said: "This is great news and it shows the strength Winchester, unlike neighbouring Eastleigh, now has to resist speculative developers by having a signed off Local Plan. People in Otterbourne will be delighted and this outcome will be heard much further afield."

Carol Hawkins, of Save Otterbourne action group, said: " I think definitely everyone has pulled together on this. The developers probably thought it was going to be too much of a hard battle."

Caroline Dibden, of Campaign to Protect Rural England (Hampshire) said: "We are relieved that Gladman have taken the common sense approach and withdrawn their application for the site at Main Road in Otterbourne.

"After Winchester City Council was vindicated by the Inspector in the recent Colden Common appeal, where he agreed that they had the required 5-year housing land supply, it was obvious that Gladman’s appeal was highly unlikely to succeed since it was based on the same arguments that were thrown out in that case. 

"CPRE Hampshire supports the plan-led process followed by Winchester City Council and will always object to speculative applications on green field sites which do not have the support of the local community."

The Otterbourne appeal was due to coincide with another controversial development at Vale Farm, the subject of an public inquiry in the autumn.

The appeal will see developers arguing that the city council has an inadequate supply of housing to meet the need.

The council counters by saying it has sufficient for its local plan, with the first of 2,000 being completed at Barton Farm.

For a full report, see next week's Chronicle.