TEST VALLEY PLANNING chiefs were met with applause after refusing a controversial application for a 43-home development in Romsey.

Scores of angered residents from Oxlease Meadows and Treviglio Close gathered in Crossfield Hall for the Southern Area Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday evening to learn the fate of the plans.

Proposals would have seen a mixed development of one to two bed flats and two, three and four bed houses near the Fishlake Nature Reserve – some of which just metres from the Barge Canal.

A host of objections had previously been submitted by locals who felt duped by Stratland Estates, which had initially put in an application for just four homes on the same plot before adding a fresh scheme which included a new access road and a bridge crossing over the waterway. Several bodies including Hampshire and Isle of Wight Trust and Romsey & District society also objected to the proposals.

That anger was further intensified after homeowners in the neighbouring estate were made aware their streets could well become through routes for site traffic as part of the construction process.

Planning officers confirmed during the meeting traffic calming measures, temporary parking restrictions and the loss of part of the Oxlease Meadows playpark – which has yet to open – were options which may have been considered if the application was passed, sparking fury from those in attendance. One resident shouted: “We’ve had our lives trashed.”

A representative of the Oxlease Meadows residents group said: “There have been a huge number of objections to this development. This would cause massive disruption to our lives; it is a totally unsuitable site. The developer has disregarded four other sites which they could have built on instead all because they don’t want to put their hands in their pockets. It should be rejected outright by TVBC. What is the point of planning permission if all it does is allow for objections to be overturned? In no way are the residents of Oxlease Meadows protected by the through traffic this will lead to.”

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Further concerns were also raised about the additional strain 43 new homes would have on the sewage network, with locals reporting they could often smell human excrement owing to a long-standing issue which has yet to be addressed by Southern Water and the previous developer.

An agent speaking on behalf of Stratland Estates was met by jeers while outlining the potential benefits of the scheme, which included the creation of jobs and affordable housing, as well as the long-term regeneration of the surrounding poplar trees which are in poor condition.

After a lengthy debate, the committee discussed deferring the application until detailed information could be provided on which route the construction traffic would take to the site. However, this was swiftly brushed aside by case officer Paul Goodman, who deemed it to be a potentially ‘unreasonable request’ and the application was refused after two separate votes, with only Councillor Tony Ward offering his support to the proposals.

Councillor Janet Burnage said: “I have a lot of concern about these proposals. The development plan does not cover the countryside, and part of this site would be in the countryside. It will not protect, conserve or improve our landscape or Borough and it will infringe greatly on the surrounding wildlife and residents. This development could take several years, and I’m concerned about residents’ wellbeing. It is not right in this area, and it will not enhance the area at all.”

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