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Planning wrangle resolved after quarter of a century
A 25-YEAR planning wrangle was settled in under an hour as council bosses approved a new housing development for Bishop's Waltham . In the 1980s Winchester City Council fought off development on land adjacent to Pondside Lane, but the need for affordable homes and support from residents mean the council has decided development can go ahead.
At a planning meeting on Thursday (September 20), Judy Marsh, speaking on behalf of Bishop's Waltham parish council, urged the city council 'not to throw away this opportunity', saying the developers' plans, including children's play areas, met residents' needs. She said: “For decades we've wanted this land for recreational use. Unfortunately the inspector concluded that only part of the land was eligible for a compulsory purchase order.
“It remains a priority for the parish council to secure some recreational use for it and discussions began in 2007 with the owner. It was a great example of localism in action even before the government introduced it.”
Cllr Robert Johnston commented: “It's refreshing to see so much support for this as opposed to what we normally see in these situations.”
Plans by Linden Homes Southern are for 24 dwellings, including 12 affordable homes, over a two-hectare site. Councillor Therese Evans supported the proposal but expressed concern that the affordable homes were not sufficiently integrated with the rest of the development. She said: “We have a policy in place and I do not think it's acceptable to make an exception. We should not have had the affordable housing separated in this way.”
Cllr Angela Clear also expressed some reservations but gave the plans her backing. She said: “I know this is a departure from the local plan but it has a high proportion of affordable housing, though I too am sure that the people occupying the affordable housing do often feel a bit segregated.”
But portfolio holder for new homes delivery, Ian Tait, said: “I whole-heartedly support the officers' recommendations. I think this is an exemplar scheme offering considerable benefits to the local community.”
The council had wanted to secure the site for recreational use but was only able to secure a compulsory purchase order for a small fraction of the land. It transpired in 2003 that they could not afford the asking price.