‘Fight against houses has united us all’

Monday 21st May 2018 1:00 pm
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A GREATHAM campaign group has said development suggested by the South Downs National Park Authority could change “the fabric of the village forever”.

The comments came after the authority completed its first Local Plan, a document which acts as a blueprint for planning applications, outlining policies and criteria to guide developers.

Following a consultation, the plan has now been submitted, along with a raft of evidence and more than 2,500 comments, to the Government for approval.

When adopted, the new South Downs Local Plan will replace existing planning policies operating across the National Park.

Within the document, land that is ripe for development has been identified, including a Greatham site considered suitable for up to 40 homes and an area of public open space.

Following a redrafting of the plan, some wording in the speculative planning application for the Petersfield Road site (Liss Forest Nursery) has been changed.

The final document no longer describes the proposed allocation site as a “major development”.

It also adds in some suggestions about specific location to mitigate landscape impact.

As well as houses, the site presents “an opportunity to provide Greatham with a modestly sized retail unit in the heart of the village next to the school and village hall”.

Land at Fern Farm, in Longmoor Road, is also earmarked as an ideal place for extra gypsy and traveller sites to be provided.

National park chairman Margaret Paren said the plan “puts our nationally important landscapes first” to ensure “we get the right growth in the right places”.

However, campaign group Greatham Voice is not so sure that the outline proposals for the village are appropriate.

As such, it crowd funded thousands of pounds to cover consultantcy fees so it could draw up a solid feedback response.

One silver lining for the group is a boost in public engagement, with residents now more invested in local issues.

“We are proud to be part of a community that really cares about Greatham village,” a spokesman from the group said. “The collective response to the proposed South Downs National Park Local Plan has united villagers from all corners of the Parish.

“People really care about where they live and are truly concerned about the volume of traffic in the village and the impact that further development would have.

“For the most part, people are not opposed to growth as long as the consequences are considered.

“Once you build on a greenfield site or grant permanent sites for travellers, it changes the fabric of the village forever.

“Villagers are now more invested in parish-council matters. A mid-term vacancy on the parish council arose in March and villagers petitioned the district council for an election.

“There are three candidates nominated for the election which will take place on Thursday, May 24.”

The Local Plan will have implications for development within the park boundary, which has borders all around Bordon.

The map line runs roughly south of Liphook Road, putting much of Whitehill within the park, as well as Greatham, Selborne, Blackmoor and most of Oakhanger.

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