‘Bland’ homes plan for field is thrown out

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PLANS for more than 200 homes have been rejected after councillor dubbed their design as ‘bland’ and being ‘like barracks.’

Taylor Wimpey had applied for permission to build 206 new properties on land south of Peters Road in Park Gate.

But yesterday, Fareham Borough Council’s eight-member planning committee agreed unanimously to reject the scheme.

In an hour-long debate on the application, the committee members agreed that they felt the buildings’ designs were of a poor quality and out of character with the surrounding area.

Councillor David Swanbrow said: ‘The design of these houses is absolutely dreadful, they look like barracks. They are standard boxes that someone can build without any thought at all.’

Councillor Brian Bayford said: ‘We wouldn’t be representing folk in that area if we allowed development of this sort of design to go ahead.’

However, the committee granted permission for 49 homes in the north-west corner of the plot earlier this year.

And chairman, Cllr Nick Walker added: ‘I have a nagging fear that we have already approved a bland design on another part of this site, and if this goes to appeal, an inspector would look at it and say: “You’ve already approved this development next to it”.’

Councillors also raised concerns about the level of affordable housing in the scheme – council guidelines call for 40 per cent affordable homes, but officers had reached a compromise of 27 per cent, plus a £500,000 contribution towards improvements in the area.

Councillor Mike Ford added: ‘Had this been presented to us in 2007 when the economic situation was different, I can’t believe we would have accepted it.

‘How far do you allow these things to be driven down by the economic situation?’

Will Phair of Taylor Wimpey, said in a deputation: ‘This is a fully considered, high-quality scheme.’

A council officer’s report had recommended passing the plans.

Representatives from the housing company at the meeting declined to comment afterwards.