Congestion and flood fears amid Rowlands Castle homes plan

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CONCERNS about traffic and flooding were raised as a large swathe of fields will be turned over to housing.

Councillors at East Hampshire District Council voted unanimously last night to approve plans for 106 homes on land south of Oaklands House, Rowlands Castle.

Portsmouth Water had originally objected over fears that the proposed drainage system could contaminate aquifers that supply drinking water to the Portsmouth area.

But developer Hooper Properties proposed to drain water into a holding pond and a ditch along the north side of Whichers Gate Road.

Officials at Portsmouth Water were happy with the amendment.

Addressing the committee at The Petersfield School, John Pickering, chairman of Rowlands Castle Parish Council, said the site was the ‘least worst’ place to build houses.

But he said: ‘The work on traffic impact is inadequate.’

With the access on to Whichers Gate Road, he said there were potentially another 200 cars on the rural road – together with more cars from other approved developments in the area.

‘Even without this the main roundabout system will no longer be free flowing,’ he said.

Bill Wilson, a governor at St John’s Primary School, was worried about loss of hedgerows as the estate will be very close to the school’s outdoor learning area. Cllr Marge Harvey, who represents Rowlands Castle and sits on the planning committee, said: ‘The run-off from the site could exacerbate the flooding experience of properties to the south of the site.’

She said Hampshire County Council had agreed to do an audit on the workings of the roundabout system.

Cllr David Newberry said: ‘It’s in a sustainable location.’

After the meeting, parish councillor Elizabeth Longman believed it could set a precedent for development along Whichers Gate Road.

Parish councillor Malcolm Johnson said there had been a ‘failure’ of the highway authority to assess the ‘cumulative impact’ of all the new housing developments in the local area.