ONE of the biggest greenfield developments for many years was approved last night.
Councillors voted to approve plans for 700 homes for a huge stretch of farmland to the east of Horndean, close to junction 2 of the A3(M).
The plans have divided opinion since they were mooted and continued to be the subject of fierce debate at the meeting at Horndean Technology College, which was attended by around 50 members of the public.
The prospect of thousands more cars on the roads and loss of countryside were the main objections.
But many believed the Hazleton Farm development is the only way Horndean can meet its housing targets and get the infrastructure improvements it needs, including a new primary school, a care village for the elderly, and sports facilities.
Resident Michael Homewood, addressing East Hampshire’s planning committee, was concerned about the size of the development.
He said: ‘It will create an extra 1,800 residents.’
John Pickering, chairman of Rowlands Castle Parish Council, was angry as a planning report suggested that only 10 extra cars would use the B2149 at peak hours, with the rest using the A3(M).
He said: ‘This is frankly nonsense.’
But Horndean Parish Councillor Elaine Tickell said: ‘The huge increase in traffic would not pass through the already congested village centre.’
The meeting heard that 450 people attended a public consultation about development sites and 92 per cent favoured this location.
Horndean Councillor David Evans, who sits on the committee, said: ‘There’s a great deal of public support and for the fact it will deliver 40 per cent affordable housing.’
The plans include a raft of highway changes, including traffic lights at junction 2.
Nine councillors voted to approve the outline plans, with Rowlands Castle Cllr Marge Harvey objecting.
Because of the size of the application, planning permission cannot be formally granted to the developers without authorisation from the government.
A more detailed planning application, outlining design and layout, will be submitted at a later date.
After the meeting, Bridget Gauntlett, who owns a nearby farm, said: ‘I am absolutely livid.
‘For 34 years we have done everything we can for wildlife and this will undo everything.’
Horndean Cllr Guy Shepherd said: ‘It establishes our housing need until 2028 but importantly it secures some great facilities.’