Upham Parish Council, 24 January 2017: In a strongly worded letter to Eastleigh borough councillors, David Ashe, chairman of Upham Parish Council, has today set out powerful arguments why they should reject Drew Smith’s hostile application for 250 houses at Pembers Hill Farm on Mortimers Lane in Fair Oak. A Local Area Committee comprising of councillors from Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Horton Heath will decide on the application at a meeting tomorrow evening.
Mr Ashe writes: “The arguments put forward for approval of this very opportunistic application, by both the applicant and your own officers’ report, rely heavily on the suggestion that a decision has already been taken to progress with B and C as the preferred option [of the council’s emerging Local Plan, namely for 6,000+ houses and a major new road north of Allbrook, Bishopstoke and Fair Oak].”
He continues: “You are being asked to approve a scheme for 250 houses for which your landscape officers recommend rejection on grounds of over dense development and visual impact. One of the country’s foremost experts on hydrology has condemned it, as it relies on obsolete methodology to justify the amount of attenuation proposed. Professor Sear’s clear concerns can only be met by more land being given over to attenuation, whilst the landscape officers call for more public open space. Something has to give, and it is the number of dwellings being applied for. An application for 250 houses on this site is therefore clearly unsustainable and threatens severe flooding to the centre of Fair Oak.
“The applicant suggests that to approve this application will be ‘held to the council’s credit’ by the inspector. What will really be ‘held to the council’s credit’ will be a sound local plan development process, one that establishes a clear evidence base before taking any decision on B and C.
“You have previously taken the very sensible view that this application should be deferred pending a decision on the Local Plan. Why should you change that opinion?”
To view Mr Ashe’s letter, click here.
To read planning consultant West Waddy’s supporting documentation, referred to in Mr Ashe’s letter, click here. (Please note this version corrects several typos in the original one sent to councillors.) As you will see, West Waddy’s opinion is that approving this application in the light of both the applicant’s and council officers’ concerns, would fly in the face of guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework.