A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build a small housing estate on the outskirts of Hook has been rejected.

Planning officers at Hart District Council used delegated powers to turn down the plan by developer Charles Church (Southern) to build 48 homes on land off Hop Garden Road.

The district council received 93 letters of objection to the plan, with villagers stating that more development in the village was unnecessary and it would fill the gap between Hook and Newnham. A Hop Garden Action Group was even formed to fight the proposal.

In her decision notice, case officer Karen Haizelden wrote that there was a presumption against residential development in the open countryside between the two villages.

She added: “The housing policies of the Local Plan are seen as being up-to-date as the council has a five-year supply of housing land, and therefore there is no need to release this site for residential development.”

The plan had angered some villagers who believed that Hook was receiving more than its fair share of housing applications.

Land to the north-east of the village has been earmarked for 550 homes in Hart’s failed Local Plan, and two smaller housing estates in Brown Croft and Reading Road have already been approved.

At the district council election in May, independent candidate Rob Leeson was voted in after campaigning to curb development in Hook.

He told The Gazette: “I have seen some email exchanges between residents who welcome the decision, but I think it is a proportionate response to the development that’s going on around the village.”

But Chris Heney, Charles Church Thames Valley development director, said: “We are disappointed in the decision by Hart District Council.

“We will be considering the reasons for refusal before confirming any future course of action.”