THE DEBATE

We are a group of concerned local residents from 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.

Advice from Leading QC

Bentley Action Group has commissioned an Opinion from Mr Rupert Warren, a leading planning QC from Landmark Chambers.  Here is a summary of this view or you can download his full report. 

 

  • He supports the Bentley Action Group Objection made to EHDC against the Northbrook site allocation in March 2019, particularly on the grounds that it is not a “sustainable” development due to its limited size

  • Should Northbrook succeed:

    • Due to its limited size, there may in future be pressure to expand the site further beyond the currently planned 800+ houses

    • It cannot be assumed that it will reduce the pressure for additional sites in Bentley

    • EHDC cannot give any guarantees about future development in Bentley as planning circumstances and policy change over time

  • Should Northbrook not succeed:

    • There is no real force in the suggestion that multiple housing developments will be forced on Bentley from among the 13 sites which have been put forward by their owners. They have no planning policy status and the majority of them are likely to prove undeliverable

 

T

 

Developers say:  

“growth has to happen”

We say:

Growth should be in proportion to the character and nature of the surrounding landscape.

 

 

Developers say:  

"The Northbrook Estate is considered a good location for new housing because it creates an opportunity to deliver a valuable number of new homes and supporting facilities in a well-planned and sustainable manner”. 

We say:

There are 10 Major Sites now under consideration by EHDC, of which 2 must be chosen to deliver the housing numbers. From EHDC's own assessment criteria it is clear that Northbrook is the most constrained and therefore the most unsuitable site of the 10. We believe that Whitehill and Bordon is an appropriate large site, with major potential as it is part of a massive town regeneration plan. We believe Northbrook should be removed from the list and a better. more appropriate site chosen. 

 

 

 
Developers say:  

The new settlement will reduce “pressure for future development within or adjoining the existing village” of Bentley. 

We say:

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.

Developers say:

"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”

We say:  

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.     

Developers say:

Northbrook will not be  "reliant on the facilities at Bentley or neighbouring villages”

We say:

The site will put significant pressure on the facilities of neighbouring villages such as their school, surgery and station.  A primary school will only be built once there are enough children to fill a year R class of 30 - timeframe for this is c. 5 - 10 years.   There is no provision for a secondary school.  There is no provision for a surgery.    The stations in Bentley and Farnham already struggle to meet existing capacity - this proposal adds a further potential 800 commuters.   

 

 
Developers say:  

"the new village would deliver a cohesive and committed strategy for promoting sustainable travel”

We say:  

The site is likely to be car dependent.  There is very little limited practical access to public transport. It is disingenuous to consider cycling along the A31 as a safe or acceptable alternative to driving.