A BID to save precious countryside was lost last night after a dramatic meeting.
Councillors went against overwhelming public opinion to approve 40 homes on a field off Lovedean Lane, Lovedean.
Cllr Marge Harvey, who represents Rowlands Castle and pleaded with the committee to refuse the plan, warned the development would set a precedent for building on farmland near this site and in the Horndean area – leaving the village with up to 2,000 new homes, rather than the 700 homes the council has set a target for.
The planning committee of East Hampshire District Council approved the bid, despite 377 people at a public consultation voting for Hazleton Farm – a 700-home scheme off the A3(M) which promises much-needed community facilities – as their preferred site for new homes.
By contrast, the application in Lovedean attracted just one vote in the consultation.
After the decision, Horndean Cllr Sara Schillemore stormed out of the council offices, saying she was ‘angry’ with the decision as she and Cllr Harvey were outnumbered by eight votes to two.
During the meeting she said: ‘It will look like piecemeal modern development dropped into a field.’
She said no-one was considering that Lovedean was already taking an extra 500 homes due to allocations in nearby Havant and Winchester districts.
Cllr Harvey said: ‘There’s no buses, there’s no real shops.
‘It’s a really unsustainable place.
‘What worries me is you let this one go, you have got three more waiting to come in. Horndean will not get what it needs which it will get at Hazleton Farm.’
Lovedean Residents’ Association was represented at the meeting in Petersfield by former government planning inspector, Dr Wendy Le-Las.
She told the committee: ‘It’s agricultural land. I sometimes think our grandchildren will be expected to eat concrete.’
Fears were also raised about the homes worsening existing flooding problems.
The meeting had to be adjourned at one point due to angry comments made by people in the audience.
But David Ramsay, agent for Bargate Homes, stressed it was a low-density development.
‘Bargate Homes does not build huge housing estates,’ he said.
Cllr Patrick Burridge, chairman of the committee, said all applications had to be considered ‘on their merits’, in the sequence they arrived on the council’s doorstep and in line with the government’s housing policy.
After the meeting Dr Le-Las said the council was in danger of creating problems for future generations.
She said: ‘I think it’s disgusting.
‘They are not taking decisions on the basis of sustainability – they are just being terrified by the government.
‘Long after the government is dead, they are dead, this development will still be there.
‘It’s a monument to unsustainability. I just don’t think this is right.’
Cllr Lynn Evans, chairwoman of Horndean Parish Council, said she was ‘very disappointed’ by the decision.