SAY NO TO NORTHBROOK
Bentley Action Group is very pleased to report that Northbrook Park has been removed as a Major Development Site from the emerging EHDC Local Plan.
On 12th June EHDC announced following their Major Site Consultation which closed in October that they would be including only Whitehill & Bordon (1,300 houses) in the draft Local Plan, which they hope to adopt within the next 12 months. They are not ready to include a second major development site. Therefore, the Northbrook site has been taken out of the draft Local Plan.
However, EHDC also announced that they intend to continue to search for a second major development site in the A31 corridor, which means that all seven sites under review (including Northbrook) remain in play, but that any decision would be for a future Local Plan exercise, probably in 4-6 years.
See EHDC announcement in full:
Whilst this is an important victory in the first engagement of a battle to defend the beautiful countryside of our North Wey valley, the battle is not yet won. The developer has committed major resources to the Northbrook project and is likely to try again. We must remain vigilant.
Very many thanks to all our friends and supporters who have committed considerable amounts of time and money to the successful campaign.
Bruce Powell and Richard Leonard
A HUGE NEW SETTLEMENT OF 800 HOUSES
East Hampshire District Council is reviewing its Local Plan – a document which sets out where new homes should be built over the next 20 years – and without your help in fighting this, they will give the green light to a minimum of 800 new homes at Northbrook Park. This is despite the Council itself recognising that it’s neither the most suitable or sustainable option in the District.
Northbrook Park is split down the middle, with half of it in East Hampshire Council and the other half in Waverley Council, and the owners have already tried to build new homes in Waverley but were told in no uncertain terms that ‘this proposed new settlement is remote from Farnham’… and ‘is unsuitable and potentially unachievable as a housing allocation’.
So what’s different about the East Hampshire side?
Nothing. The Council recognises it’s not near a town centre, is miles from a school, GP practice and is right next to the South Downs National Park. Its only benefit is that if it gets the go-ahead the impact on our local infrastructure falls onto Farnham residents and Waverley and Surrey Councils.
The Council wants to follow a politically easier route to deliver the necessary central government housing allocation. There are better, more appropriate and more sustainable sites in East Hants.
That’s why we believe that Northbrook Park – on both sides of the council boundary – should not come forward for new homes just because it’s the politically most acceptable option. Decisions on the future of our area for the next 20 years need to be backed up by evidence and to accord with the planning rules. And there’s no evidence to say that Northbrook Park stands up to any level of proper scrutiny.
But we need your help to tell the Council to think again.
We are a group of concerned local residents from Bentley and the communities surrounding Northbrook, and we believe:
The development as proposed is disproportionate, unsuitable and unsustainable, which would destroy the rural character of the area.
It will damage our countryside by endangering ancient woodland, the local biodiversity and the National Park
It will put significant pressure on our neighbouring communities infrastructure (i.e. roads, schools, sanitation, surgery)
East Hants District Council want to follow a politically easier route to deliver the necessary central government housing allocation.
There are better, more appropriate and more sustainable sites in East Hants.
"As a local resident I am in principle supportive of housing development, especially affordable homes for the younger generation, but this is the wrong development in the wrong place. As proposed it is not in any way sustainable and I do not believe it is either suitable or deliverable. There are far better sites in East Hants to build 800+ houses than at Northbrook."
Phil Spencer, Broadcaster, Writer and Businessman.
"As a long term resident of Holybourne the rural countryside is a matter of great importance to me. I support protecting the rolling fields, beautiful landscape and ancient woodland of the Northern Wey Valley, which is on the edge of the South Downs National Park. I believe there are far better sites in East Hants to build 800+ houses than at Northbrook."
Alan Titchmarsh, Gardener, Broadcaster and Writer.
The new settlement will reduce “pressure for future development within or adjoining the existing village” of Bentley.
Leading QC's opinion is that it is highly likely to lead to pressure for even further development along the A31 once it becomes clear that a scheme limited to c. 800 new homes cannot deliver or sustain the promised services and facilities. Also, it is not likely to reduce the pressure for additional sites in Bentley. EHDC can and will give no guarantees that Bentley village will not be subject to development in future.
"13 development sites have already been submitted to East Hampshire District Council in or very close to the centre of the village of Bentley. In the event that Northbrook does not proceed, then these 13 sites will become active for consideration and could progress”
Leading QC has confirmed that each planning application is reviewed on an individual basis - there is unlikely to be any link between a very large strategic development in Northbrook and individual applications in surrounding villages. East Hampshire District Council has to find sites for at least 800 houses to meet its housing allocation. If Northbrook doesn’t progress its immediate next step will be to find an alternative site for this number of houses.
EFFECTS ON THE COMMUNITY
We believe that the rural character and infrastructure of all the neighbouring villages would be significantly adversely affected by the development in Northbrook. There will be a loss of rural countryside, significant further traffic congestion on the A31 and major pressure on the local Bentley services i.e. surgery, local schools and sanitation system. We are also concerned that the site will be built on a flood plan, endangering a pre-roman fort. It will destroy the rural setting of twelve listed buildings. The weight of the Parish of Bentley would shift to the new settlement at Northbrook, affecting the ability of those who live in the current Bentley settlement to protect and manage their village.
HOW TO HELP US STOP THIS DEVELOPMENT
We need your help. Numbers matter. The more of you that demonstrate you are against this proposal the greater our chance of stopping it from happening. If you live in the neighbourhood of Northbrook and want to protect your countryside then here's what you can do.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: