‘It will just be a suburb’ – concern over Rowlands Castle housing plan

Doug Moody at the public consultation meeting.
Doug Moody at the public consultation meeting.

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CONFUSION over boundaries, traffic congestion and loss of village charm were some of the concerns raised at a public consultation in Rowlands Castle.

Scores of people visited the exhibition at the Church on The Green yesterday to find out more about East Hampshire District Council’s proposals to allocate land for 150 homes in the village.

Potential sites include the Keyline Builders Merchants site, Oaklands Farm, land at Deerleap, and the former Rowlands Castle Brickworks.

Residents were asked to place coloured stickers on a map to show which sites they would prefer to be developed.

However, there was some confusion over one of the sites, Hazleton Farm, which has been earmarked for 700 homes.

Despite some of the farm being within Rowlands Castle parish, village leaders are under the impression it will only go towards Horndean’s housing targets.

John Pickering, parish council chairman, was angry he could not get a definitive answer from council planners as to which quota it would go towards.

He added: ‘We could consider all the sites together – but that’s not going to happen.

‘It’s all the salami slicing and that’s the problem. We can build them sequentially but then if we deliver quickly the number of houses, will we then be left alone by developers?’

Doug Moody, 59, of Redhill Road, said his preferred sites would be Oaklands and Hazleton farm.

He said: ‘We have to strike a balance between protecting the village and the nature of the village and also providing appropriate housing.

‘It needs a mixture of housing – smaller properties that the older generation can downsize to, so freeing up properties for families to move into.’

Resident Jane Harborne said: ‘This will just be an edge of Portsmouth suburb. This is a village – not a town.’

Regarding whether Hazleton Farm could go towards Rowlands Castle’s housing targets, Selina Crocombe, planning policy team leader, said: ‘It’s a bit of a grey area.

‘It’s something we will be looking at as part of the Allocations Plans which is the next stage in this process.’

She added: ‘At the end of the day it’s always a balance between people’s opinion and the information we have on what constraints there are at particular locations.’