ROMSEY Town Council has overwhelmingly rejected the borough’s latest draft planning blueprint for the area, which includes 1,300 homes at Whitenap.
In a recorded vote, all 11 members at last week’s full council meeting voted against the revised draft Borough Local Plan.
Councillors fear that the proposal for 1,300 homes at Whitenap will have a major impact on Romsey and its environs, including Broadlands.
“To have a high-density development resting abruptly against the park edge will serve to devalue the park and consequently the house itself in terms of its landscape context and setting,” says the council, in its submission to borough planners.
Attacking the proposed use of good farmland for housing, the town council adds: “The allocation of 1,300 dwellings is on a significant area of high-quality agricultural land.
“Government policy seeks to exclude the development of high-quality agricultural land if there is poorer land available elsewhere, which there is in the south of the borough. “ The town council points out that the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework stresses that local authorities should seek to use poor-quality land in preference to high-grade agricultural land for housing and there is low-grade farmland in the southern Test Valley which has been overlooked by the plan.
The town council is also accusing borough planners of ignoring objections to the proposed Whitenap development. It states: “In allocating 1,300 houses at Whitenap, the revised local plan has not addressed the more than 1,000 individual objections, nor the objections of Romsey Town Council, Romsey Extra Parish Council and Romsey and District Society.
“In relation to Romsey, the RLP does not reflect the collective vision and set of agreed priorities for the sustainable development of the area. The allocation at Whitenap will have a major impact on the landscape setting of Romsey.”
Looking at the growth of the town and the impact the proposed housing could have on it, the council says: “Romsey has had a gradual growth by way of small housing estates of between 100 and 300 dwellings. So, for example the present Whitenap estate has 100 dwellings and the Tadburn Road Estate and its various closes has about 300 dwellings.
“To add another 1,300 on one site over a short time frame may be appropriate for a city or a major centre such as Eastleigh, but it is out of step with the evolution of Romsey and its small, characterful living zones. It will lead to a single very large-scale development which is out of step with Romsey’s development history.” The council also expressed concerns that borough planners had used land owned by a single owner for 1,600 homes (the Whitenap site, plus 300 more homes at Hoe Lane, North Baddesley). Both sites are owned by Timothy Knatchbull, of the Ashfield Estate and the town council believes that there should have been a “variety of locations of differing sizes” in southern Test Valley.
The council also has concerns about the traffic implications for the town, with the development bringing more cars onto the roads.