It was only a matter of time before the owners of White Dirt Farm were approached by a developer, and this has now happened. The sightings prior to Christmas of surveyors on the land were an early warning and Taylor Wimpey UK has broken cover as the interested developer.
Needless to say I am totally opposed to any development on White Dirt Farm as it is important gap land, and to do so would be of serious detriment to the landscape and area. There are far better areas to build on such as Hazleton Farm where a large scheme with structured facilities could make a significant contribution to Horndean. This is not the right location for any housing or development at all, and I will work hard to oppose this.
The land is in the Catherington & Lovedean ward and Councillor Sara Schillemore is the Ward Councillor. Sara is a long established District Councillor and her views on the use of this land are very well known, but as a sitting member of the Planning Committee Cllr Schillemore will not now be able to express any views about the possibility of development as it may prejudice her position. She is however very interested to hear your written views to make sure they are taken into consideration. Please email Sara on Sara.Schillemore@easthants.gov.uk
This posting covers a number of items as follows:
What are Taylor Wimpey proposing?
The scheme they are considering is for 185 to 220 homes and the planning details can be found on the EHDC Planning Portal on this link HERE. There are currently 4 documents filed and the most important one is this site plan:
The plans are at a very early stage, and Taylor Wimpey have submitted an application to establish if an EIA is required. (Environmental Impact Assessment)
What is an EIA?
The aim of Environmental Impact Assessment is to protect the environment by ensuring that a local planning authority when deciding whether to grant planning permission for a project, which is likely to have significant effects on the environment, does so in the full knowledge of the likely significant effects, and takes this into account in the decision making process. The planning application is a request for a screening opinion and the outcome of the application will be to determine whether an EIA is required or not. There are criteria to establish if this is necessary, but this process if required does not give the opportunity to reject any application at an early stage.
What are the next steps?
There will be some ‘pre application’ meetings and the aim will be to persuade the developer that there are other more suitable places to build that will even get community support, and that this is not one of them.
If the developer decides to proceed to a full application then this will take several months, and this is just the start of a long process. It will involve consultation meetings and opportunities to give clear opinions to the developer. My role in this will be to:
How to be kept informed
I will post any updates on this blog and if you click on the link to receive notifications then every time I post an article you will be sent an email when a post is uploaded. This will also copy you into the other exciting articles this blog reports on! Please email this web page to neighbours in the area so they can also be kept up to date with this too.
I have added “WDF Development” in the categories tab so that you can filter out any articles relevant to this alone.
It is likely that there will be some additional newsletters dedicated to this, and some leaflet dropping to make sure people know about the consultations the Developer is holding. These are not always very well promoted and it is important that as many people comment and give their views as possible. There are 1,050 homes in Downs Ward and currently there are 4 very kind people who help to deliver leaflets. If 5 or 6 people could offer to help deliver too then this would make keeping people who are not online informed a much easier task. If you would be happy to deliver 100 to 140 leaflets or newsletters at the right time then please can you let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org
If Taylor Wimpey are successful with their application then this would bring in Developers Contributions worth £11,000 per home, or about £2,000,000 in total to be spent on improvements in our community. This would include money for schools, healthcare, roads, and better facilities generally. Some of this would be spent by Horndean Parish Council. It is important to consider what we might at least get in return for the housing, and as an example the green lane development will bring in a leisure facility which we will also be entitled to use. It would also bring in 40% affordable housing which is actually a need that we do have for our young people who are looking to buy first time homes. If the application turns out to be successful then we must make sure we get the best facilities we can out of it.
Hopefully this gives a useful briefing on the application, and what the next steps will be. Please can you participate in the poll below and please feel free to comment on this post to give your views on the application, if it should proceed, and maybe what community facilities we should ask for if it must go ahead.