‘It’s the end of the green belt – and a way of life’

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PEOPLE fed up with a housing boom that is eating up the countryside have said: ‘Enough is enough.’

With schools and doctors’ surgeries full to the brim and more and more congestion on the roads, people are worried that the scale of new development is out of control.

Angry residents gather next to the field off Highcroft Lane and Chalk Hill Road, Horndean, that has been earmarked for housing.

Angry residents gather next to the field off Highcroft Lane and Chalk Hill Road, Horndean, that has been earmarked for housing.

Every month another field is earmarked for development and the Horndean and Clanfield area has been the main target.

While people accept new homes must be built, they are concerned there could be wall-to-wall housing from Portsdown Hill up to the boundary of the South Downs National Park.

People of all ages gathered in Highcroft Lane, Horndean, to voice their anger at a fresh development on the cards – 73 homes on a horse field that is used by local children for riding.

Other controversial developments include 135 homes at White Dirt Farm, Horndean, 221 homes on Down Farm, Clanfield, 78 homes on fields at Lovedean, and 106 homes on land at Oaklands House, Rowlands Castle.

Cheryl Cantrill, 47, of Ridge Close, Clanfield, said: ‘It’s the thin end of the wedge.

‘Our villages are no longer villages.

‘The government need to think of other ways to build the houses on the brownfield sites, of which there are many in this country.

‘There needs to be a total rethink.’

Sue Coles, who runs the riding club, said: ‘It’s the end of the green belt.

‘It’s a way of life that is being ended.

‘It’s ill-planned and ill-conceived.’

Jacqueline Blick, 69, of Highcroft Lane, said: ‘It’s totally out of order.

‘Horndean has so many houses now and there are 700 going in across the motorway. We are overpopulated and haven’t got the facilities.’

Cllr Lynn Evans, chairwoman of Horndean Parish Council, said: ‘We feel besieged. Developments like this are not going to bring any benefits in terms of community benefits.’

Nicola Stone is setting up a new residents’ association.

The 35-year-old, from Horndean, said: ‘The first stage of any development is consultation with residents and that has not happened at all.’

Local people are against piecemeal development that will swallow up remaining green spaces.

But a proposed development of 700 homes next to the motorway at Hazleton Farm, together with a range of community facilities, has been generally welcomed by residents.

A consultation by East Hampshire District Council concluded the overwhelming majority of people want Horndean’s new homes to be built there.

Elaine Tickell, a parish councillor, went up to London to address a government select committee and criticised the way the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was being implemented.

She said: ‘The reality of the operation of the NPPF in Horndean is that developers have manipulated the provisions of the scheme to their own ends and tried to drive through planning applications on a ‘first come, first served’ basis with applications on inappropriate sites outside settlement policy boundaries, out of character with the area, in the countryside and in local gaps without the support of the local population.’

Decisions will be made by East Hampshire’s planning committee on the latest applications based on their merits.

Andy Biltcliffe, senior manager of planning policy, said: ‘The policy is set out in the Joint Core Strategy which includes minimum figures for housing in the Horndean area. Specific sites must be identified to fill the allocation for the area. By 2028 Horndean will have a minimum of 700 new homes, Clanfield will have 200 new homes and Rowlands Castle will have a minimum of 150 new homes.’