I have just returned from a Planning Meeting at New Forest District Council in which I proposed refusal of an application to build 80 new dwellings on the green field, north of Loperwood Lane.

Other members supported my proposal and I’m pleased to say it was rejected.

It’s important that people understand that this won’t be the end of the matter. The applicant has a right of appeal to an Inspector. There may be some legal arguments employed to attack the basis for our decision.

My decision to support rejection is that the land is not currently designated for housing. We are in the process of consulting on a new local plan in which all potential sites for housing will be considered – not in isolation, but all at the same time.

If I were pressed to guess what will happen, I suspect that this site will indeed be designated for housing in the near future. One only needs to see how many houses that NFDC is being pressed to allow built in this area in the next 20 year period, to see that almost all the green fields that aren’t restricted by flooding or similar issues will be built upon.

However, it must surely be better that planning members like myself are given the chance to consider the whole picture than to look at things in an isolated fashion. A lot of people living near green fields are going to feel exactly the same way as the people from Calmore do about this specific application.

It’s a “Stay of Execution”, rather than a victory against unwanted development. The need to build housing and allocating sufficient land is being driven very hard from the top levels of the current Tory government. Local Councillors will have little influence over the housing number targets. People desperate for housing will say this is a good thing. Good, or bad, it’s the reality.

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