Denmead villagers to have the last say over development

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DENMEAD has been given special status that could mean its residents have more powers to stop unwanted developments.

The parish council has been granted new powers by the government that will mean local people have more of a say over what gets built.

The ‘front-runner’ status is being tried out in more than 120 places across England as part of the government’s Localism Bill.

Denmead Parish Council and Winchester City Council were the only successful bids in Hampshire.

Acting upon the views of residents, the two councils will now draw up a neighbourhood plan and this will be part of the planning process in future.

It comes in the wake of developments such as Little Frenchies Field, off Hambledon Road.

Last year developer Taylor Wimpey got the go-ahead from a government inspector to build 80 homes.

Winchester City Council had twice refused the application after widespread opposition, but the development was given the green light at a public inquiry.

Neil Lander-Brinkley, chairman of Denmead Parish Council, said: ‘We want Denmead to have a say, not someone outside Denmead telling us what we ought to be doing.

‘We were quite surprised we had been chosen by the department.

‘Denmead is in a unique situation in that we are on the edge of the national park and the edge of the Waterlooville Major Development Area.

‘We have fingers in both pots.

‘Yet we have what people see in the village as a rural aspect.

‘It’s the village’s wish to keep its own village identity.

‘The parish council felt the best way to do that given the localism bill and the opportunities was to do a parish plan and be ahead of the game.’

The parish council has now been given £20,000 to help draw up a neighbourhood plan and will get free advice from planning experts.

The chairman said priorities include more recreational space and protecting the village centre.

Government planning minister Greg Clark said: ‘For too long local people have been shut out of the planning process with no real voice to affect decisions about the places where they live.’

To get involved call the parish council on (023) 9225 1484.