Well, we knew it was coming and East Hants has received a planning application from Taylor Wimpey for White Dirt Farm. The application files are currently being checked to verify the application is valid and can be properly consulted on. When this is complete, it will be ‘accepted’ and posted online, and I will post a link to the application so you can see all of the details.
In the meantime Taylor Wimpey have posted some brief information on their website so I am re-posting them here with a link to their website below to assist with seeking community views and explain the next steps. The image below is their current masterplan. Clicking on the picture will enlarge it in a separate window.
Initial reactions are that Taylor Wimpey have tried to down size to address landscape and gap concerns. These remain the reasons to object, along with the community view that Land East Of Horndean is the preferred location for building as shown in the housing consultation (LIPS). The cynics (myself included) would suggest that if successful, it would be a matter of time before the land to the northern end of the field were applied for.
The text on the Taylor Wimpey website again states that the site is an ‘Included’ site. White Dirt Farm is a SHLAA site which means it is on a register of sites the Council have been informed the land owner is willing to have developed, and can not be crossed off by significant reasons like ‘flood plane’ and ‘SINC’ etc. Other than this the site has no merit or elevated status in planning than any other piece of land in Horndean, and must stand on its own merits. The suggestion that a site is ‘Included’ will be very misleading and should not be taken to infer any other status.
The next steps.
East Hants have not seen these plans prior to their arrival in the post yesterday. They will take a few days to check the detail is sufficient to commence the planning process and register online. Once this is processed the application will be given a reference number, planning case officer and distributed to other organisations for their comments. This includes the Parish Council, County Council, EA, and about a dozen other organisations. We can also give comments back in this period to the case officer.
Over the consultation period, the case officers views and the comments of the consultees will be assembled and a report prepared which weighs these up, and makes a recommendation for approval or refusal. This then goes to the planning committee for them to decide. (Smaller applications are dealt with by the planning officers under delegated powers). The timescale for this process will be about 3 months so will take us to the end of October / early November. No decision is made prior to this.
The right time to give comments is when the plans have been uploaded onto the EHDC website (I will post a link on this blog) and the case officer has been appointed (I will put details here). Please also copy in Cllr Schillemore who is the ward Councillor and myself so we can track views and assemble feedback. Please remember, Cllr Schillemore sits on the planning committee and can not form a view of the application prior to the planning committee meeting or it will prejudice her vote on the committee. I on the other hand am not constrained, and (after careful consideration) remain firmly of the view the harm to the landscape and inadequate infrastructure makes this a poor choice of places to build, and we have better options in Horndean to deliver our housing need.
I will be organising a public meeting for residents of Downs Ward to attend and discuss the plans. This will give some structure on how to give your comments to the case officer, and importantly explain what ‘Material Considerations’ are – the issues the planners can and can not consider. This will help to make sure comments have as much weight as possible. This public meeting will be advertised in a newsletter which will go to everyone in the next few weeks, and will be in time for comments to be given to the planning officer. This will be a meeting where the WDF Action Group and Parish Councillor Carolyne Jacobs have confirmed they will participate so our efforts are fully coordinated, and will be organised shortly.
In the meantime click HERE to visit Taylor Wimpey’s website.