Anger over consultations by home developer for White Dirt Farm site

Residents look at plans for the proposed development at White Dirt Farm earlier this year. 'Picture: Mick Young
Residents look at plans for the proposed development at White Dirt Farm earlier this year. 'Picture: Mick Young
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CONTENTIOUS plans for a new housing estate on ancient chalk downland have been submitted – and continue to cause more controversy.

Developer Taylor Wimpey has submitted plans for 135 homes at White Dirt Farm, a picturesque stretch of countryside between Catherington, Horndean and Clanfield.

Firstly the developer caused anger when it held the public consultation in Clanfield – despite the development being within Horndean parish.

Now there is more controversy after a different set of plans were submitted to East Hampshire District Council than the ones hundreds of residents viewed online.

The latest twist came after the public exhibition at Clanfield Memorial Hall, when developers wrote back to residents, saying they had taken on board the feedback and directed them to a website to see the revised plans.

But the plans submitted to the council are different, being slightly larger and having less farmland at the north of the site.

Horndean Councillor Guy Shepherd said: ‘Frankly this stinks.

‘The quality and competency of the entire consultation process for this development has been the poorest and least worthwhile of any I have experienced.’

Jan Smith, of Thornfield Close, Horndean, said the land was a strategic gap and merely reducing the number of homes from 220 to 135 did not address the concerns of residents.

A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: ‘We revised our initial masterplan as a result of comments received from residents during our public consultation. Various options were explored and our website has now been amended for residents to view the masterplan submitted to East Hampshire District Council.

‘Our proposals will deliver much-needed high-quality housing in the local area, together with extensive public open space and play facilities, while respecting the character of the surrounding area and views of the site from the South Downs.

‘We did take into consideration a request for a further consultation event.

‘However, our public exhibition in March 2014 was well attended by over 600 people and we provided an update to residents and other interested parties with a letter in July 2014 before submitting our planning application.’

He added that comments could now be made to the council.