Councillors have unanimously decided to refuse plans for 82 houses on the edge of Overton after its junction with the B3400 was deemed unsafe.

Plans put forward by Bewley Homes for land off Two Gate Lane were thrown out at a council meeting last Wednesday, with the developer facing accusations of going back on what was previously agreed with residents.

The people of Overton had approved, in a referendum, various developments in the village, including for this site, but the plans had increased by more than 10 per cent since then.

Additionally it was said in the meeting that residents voted for the estate to be accessed from Two Gate Meadow, rather than the B3400 as proposed.

In a meeting that took nearly two and a half hours to decide just the one application, councillors expressed concerns that there would be too many junctions in a short stretch of road, overturning the opinion of planning officer Sue Tarvit who had recommend councillors approve the item.

Concerns were also raised that a kickabout space in the new development would cause nuisance to existing residents of Two Gate Meadow, and that gardens planned for one-bedroom units on the site were too small.

'One of the most appalling applications'

Plans lodged with the borough council in April 2020 outlined a mix of six one-bed, 22 two-bed, 32 three-bed, 19 four-bed and five five-bed homes.

Bewley Homes has lodged plans for an 82-home development in Overton

Bewley Homes has lodged plans for an 82-home development in Overton

It was described as "one of the most appalling applications that I have sat on in 23 years as a councillor" by Jane Frankum.

The outgoing Labour councillor had told the meeting that the plans were "confusing", with members trying to get their head around where access would be gained to the site and why it had not met the criteria set out in the Overton Neighbourhood Plan.

Her thoughts had been agreed by many members of the committee, including chairman Paul Miller, who said: "For this committee, what Hampshire Highways have said is so confusing. We don't understand their logic, we don't understand their calculations in terms of percentages and anything else.

"Unless it is laid out empirically to this committee we won't accept it. We just can't accept everything that Hampshire Highways [say], we have had this time and time again.

"They have not presented a proper case that this is safe as far as this committee is concerned," he added, saying that the original plans of accessing it from Two Gate Meadow would likely have been accepted.

'Ignoring' the views of Overton residents

The speakers at last week's meeting had been almost unanimous against the proposal, with members of the public, ward councillors and the parish council all against it.

Cllr Colin Phillimore (BDI, Overton, Laverstoke and Steventon) told the committee: "Neighbourhood Plans were supposed to give communities a chance to shape their village. In this case, Overton residents were told there would be 70 dwellings on this site and access off the Two Gate Lane.

"I am afraid developers and planning officers are ignoring what residents of Overton were told they were going to get. It should be honoured as to not do so gravely undermines democracy."

He also said that villages in the borough were subject to "speculative" planning applications because the council could not prove it had enough sites to meet the borough's housing needs over the next five years.

Councillors had also been told residents of the new estate would have to fork out £300 a year in a management charge that would go towards the upkeep of the communal spaces and a piece of land that would be used to mitigate nitrates.

Cllr Ian Tilbury, who also represents the Overton ward, quipped: "£300 a year, that makes our council tax sound like a bargain.

"These management companies are an absolute disgrace.

"This should have been a straight forward application, it was the least controversial of the sites," he added, referring to the fact that most of the village actually supported development there before the changes.

A motion put forward by Cllr Nick Robinson to defer the plans to seek clarification on the multiple concerns, and to allow councillors to visit the site to clear up confusion, was voted down by six votes to four after concerns over the application getting approval by the back door were raised.

But after warnings from planning officer Sue Tarvit that the council would not be able to count of the support of Hampshire Highways should Bewley appeal the decision, as they had said there was no issue with access, councillors decided to unanimously refuse the plans.