A PUBLIC inquiry will be held virtually this week to decide on the outcome of a planning application to build 75 new homes in Overton.

The development proposed by Bargate Homes would see homes, allotments and orchards built on the land adjacent to Pond Close.

The inquiry, which will start at 10am on Tuesday (September 28), has been initiated after the builders filed an appeal before the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC).

The initial planning application was rejected by councillors in February after Overton residents made clear their objection, saying local democracy was being “cast aside” as the homes were not included in the local plan.

Although council officers recommended the first application be given approval, members of the Development Control committee were unconvinced, and rejected the proposal.

In a committee meeting in February, many concerns were raised both by councillors and members of the public, particularly with regard to the access road to the proposed new estate, as well claims the land is contaminated, with one ward councillor describing it as a ‘toxic waste dump’.

Cllr Anne Phillips, chair of Overton Parish Council, told members that residents are “strongly opposed” to the application.

“We believe the adverse impacts on the landscape, biodiversity, road safety and democracy demonstrably outweigh the benefits,” she said.

She added that people in the area feel the “very important” Overton Neighbourhood Plan has been “cast aside”, when they thought the policies would be in place until 2029.

Claire Brady, a resident of Sheep Fair Lane - the only vehicle access road to the proposed new development - also expressed her objections on behalf of her neighbours in the recently-completed Seven Acres development, also built by Bargate Homes.

“Lack of a five year supply is not the be all and end all,” she said.

She described Sheep Fair Lane as is “an unlit, narrow, estate road”, the maintenance of which is currently contributed to by residents through a management company, as it is “unadopted” and so not maintained by the highways authority.

She added that there had been an “inaccurate picture of material issues given by the developer” regarding highway safety, traffic issues, level of consultation with Seven Acres residents and issues including capacity of local NHS and schools, parking and mobile data connectivity in the area.

The public inquiry on Tuesday will be held by an inspector appointed by the secretary of state.

The inquiry will be live streamed and can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/user/BasingstokeGov

Members of the public may attend the inquiry and, at the inspector's discretion, express their views.

Documents relating to the appeal can be viewed at the Council website https://planning.basingstoke.gov.uk/online-applications/).