Historic day for Denmead as residents take to the polls

Letter of the day

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The time has come for a village to decide its future.

Hundreds of people are expected to take to the polls tomorrow as a referendum is held in Denmead.

After four years in the making, residents are being asked if they want the Denmead Neighbourhood Plan to be adopted into local policy.

The document sets out where houses should be built and key priorities, such as protecting the Denmead Gap.

The plan has been through three rounds of public consultation and seven public meetings, but not all villagers are happy with what is being proposed.

Richard Bell-Davies, of Edneys Lane, is part of the No campaign.

He said: ‘This plan will increase traffic, flooding and sewage problems for those who live in Kidmore Lane, Anmore Road and Edneys Lane.

‘It will increase traffic in the centre of Denmead and along Hambledon Road.

‘One hundred and thirty houses concentrated in this location and all built at the same time will turn the centre into a town.’

To become a legal planning document, the plan needs the support of more than 50 per cent of those who vote.

Neil Lander-Brinkley, parish council chairman, denied that there would be any effect on flooding in the village. Hampshire County Council has already installed new drains in areas susceptible to flooding to improve the situation and any new development would have to have a proper drainage plan. Cllr Lander-Brinkley also said that no protected trees would be felled to build homes.

He said Winchester City Council had already agreed that 250 homes must be built.

He said: ‘Denmead has already had nearly 100 built, so for the next 16 years the remainder amounts to less that 10 per annum.

‘Because the 250 target it set in law a “No” vote will not mean no building, simply that others, developers and planning professionals, will decide the future of Denmead. It is that old process that ensured that the parish council’s plans to make Little Frenchies Field a recreational area were overridden in favour of housing at Little Frenchies Field.’

He added that the plan supports businesses, provides a second village green and includes a care home. Polling stations at the church hall and community centre are open from 7am until 10pm.