OVERTON residents are jubilant after an appeal by a developer to build 75 new homes on the land adjacent to Pond Close has been dismissed.

Developers Bargate Homes and Vivid Homes had appealed against the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s decision to dismiss their planning application.

However, the planning inspectorate has also rejected their appeal now based on landscape impact.

The proposed development would have seen homes, allotments and orchards built in Overton.

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 approved, 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’.

The developers then appealed against the decision.

But the planning inspectorate found that the project will affect the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

It is unusual to a site next to an existing urban development to be refused on the basis of landscape impact.

Claire Brady, a spokesperson for Residents of Overton Against Unsustainable Development (ROUND) that fought against the development, said the dismissal of the appeal is a groundbreaking decision for democracy.

“We had our voices heard,” Ms Brady said.

“It’s a win for democracy and it’s a win for residents who won’t allow unsustainable developments at their doorsteps.

“It’s quite persuasive judgment because this site was not in neighbourhood plan or local plan. It was one of the proposals under SHELAA (Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment). Basingstoke council called for a site and Bargate Homes put forward this project. And I think they were very confident this would go through.

“The council was then put in a difficult position because their officers recommended that this should be approved. Only the landscape officer said it shouldn’t go through. The residents also argued that they got the tilted balance assessment wrong.”

Councillor Colin Phillimore welcomed the decision and said: “This was a small victory against speculative development across the borough, against developers who have no respect for Local and Neighbourhood Plans or residents wishes.

“Planning by appeal results in unpopular and controversial planning applications, which fail to deliver what communities were led to believe they could control in the Neighbourhood Plan process.

“The blame for overdevelopment of our towns and villages lies solely at the door of the Conservative-controlled County and Borough Councils and their failure to maintain a five-year land supply based mainly on not one house being constructed on Manydown.