A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build 275 homes has been given the green light – despite more than 2,000 villagers being against it.
Councillors at East Hampshire District Council last night voted to allow hundreds of homes to be built on fields off Green Lane in Clanfield.
Around 180 residents packed into the council offices in Petersfield to watch the decision being taken – with dozens having to sit outside and watch it on a video screen as the chamber was so full.
Residents – who last month handed in a petition of 2,048 signatures – pleaded with councillors to refuse the application.
Objector Stuart Hill said: ‘We would ask the council – how can 2,048 people be wrong?
‘We have never been against any development, but we have major concerns about the scale and impact of this proposal.’
Brian Ahern, chairman of Clanfield Parish Council, was worried about the impact of traffic as Clanfield has no railway station and limited bus services.
Clanfield councillor Sam Darragh called for councillors to refuse the application, saying it was not a ‘sustainable site’.
The call came after East Hampshire District Council recently refused three large developments on the outskirts of Petersfield due to lack of housing need.
However, Chris Murray, head of planning services, told councillors that while Petersfield was meeting housing targets, the south of East Hampshire was falling behind, with only 346 built out of a target of 1,200 for Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle.
Liss councillor Elizabeth Cartwright said: ‘We still have to provide houses for people to live in. We are all living too long – it’s a fact.’
Councillors voted to approve the plans, with 14 for, two against and two abstentions.
The development, put forward by the landowners, will also include a community building, football pitches and a multi-use games area.
After the meeting, angry resident Frank Somers, 45, of Blackberry Close, Clanfield, said: ‘They have consulted experts, but we are the experts of our own community, not the hired in help. We can’t decide the destiny of our village?’
Mr Ahern added: ‘It’s very disappointing – that’s a great understatement.’