On the 3rd September 2015, the Inspector decisively dismissed an Appeal by Sunley Homes against the refusal of planning permission for a residential development comprising 40 homes, garages, parking spaces, access road, open space and landscaping. The reasons for dismissal were clear based on the adverse impacts on the Blendworth Conservation Area, the setting of Cadlington House and the integrity of the Local Gap between Horndean and Blendworth. East Hampshire does have a five year housing land supply.
It was both surprising and disappointing to find that Sunley have submitted another application less than two months later to build 30 homes on that part of the site adjacent to the Church Centre in Blendworth Lane. 2 of the 12 affordable homes would be specifically for Injured Veterans.
In the very short period of time between the Appeal decision and the Application, nothing has changed:-
1. The Local Gap between Horndean and Blendworth is vital to help prevent the coalescence of the two settlements and retain their separate and very different identities – Horndean being very urbanised and Blendworth being rural. The Gap is so narrow that in my opinion, it is unlikely that it’s extent would be altered on any future review.
2. The development of this field would extend the very urban feel of Horndean towards the Blendworth Conservation Area and would compromise and harm it. In the Inspectors’ words, the distinction between the urban area and the separate rural settlement and their respective Conservation Areas would be blurred. In doing so, I also feel that it would detract from the setting of Cadlington House although obviously to a lesser extent than previously proposed.
3. The creation of the access way and site lines from Blendworth Lane to the development would involve the removal of the bank of the sunken lane. This would make the loss of the Gap even more apparent. It would completely change the character and appearance of this part of Blendworth Lane particularly as when viewed in conjunction with the existing access way to Blendworth Fabrics, crossroads would be created. On a local basis, it is still maintained that the traffic assessment bears no relation to the reality of the volume and nature of traffic on a narrow, rural lane.
4. This site is outside the settlement policy boundary and its development cannot be justified under the pre requisites for development in the Countryside. Put simply, these houses including the 2 houses for Injured Veterans can be built elsewhere in Horndean on sites identified as being appropriate and having public support. East Hampshire has a robust policy for housing Injured Veterans.
On balance, I feel that this application should be refused. Click here to see the full application details. Sunley Application Link
At this time East Hants has a well progressed allocations plan which has gone through the public consultations and examination. As with other applications which are outside of the local plan, I fully expect this to be refused by the case officer, and hopefully without the added stress for local residents of going to the planning committee.