You know that I believe the District and Borough Councils that cover North East Hampshire should control development in our area through Local Plans. Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council adopted its Local Plan many years ago now, so it is disappointing to have read the Planning Inspector’s decision in relation to an appeal for a traveller site on land off Dixon Road, Sherfield on Loddon.
This application was rejected by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council on 1st November 2017. However, following an appeal by applicant, the independent Planning Inspector has overturned the Council’s decision on 30th April 2019.
I do not believe the land to be appropriate nor necessary for a traveller site, as the Council has planned other sites for this purpose in the Local Plan. Further, the proposal was rejected by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council for two site-specific reasons; namely, that the development would permanently alter the landscape character of the area and prevent the restoration of woodland that was felled without authorisation, and the risk to future residents from the potential presence of military ordnance.
While the Planning Inspector recognised these objections and noted that the proposal was in breach of the Council’s Local Plan, he upheld the appeal on the basis that there is a supposed shortage of traveller pitches in the area.
I have raised my concerns about this with the Secretary of State, but this is not a political process. I have also asked Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council if they will be seeking a Judicial Review of this decision.
Further information is available here.