Planners throw out bid for ‘sardine tin’ homes behind village’s listed pub

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White Horse homes plan
Bayview Developments Ltd sought permission for four timber homes on derelict land behind the White Horse pub

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build four houses on derelict land behind a Milford pub has been unanimously refused by New Forest District Council’s planning committee.

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Bayview Developments Ltd sought permission for two semi-detached three-bedroom properties and two detached four-bedroom dwellings on empty brownfield land to the rear of the White Horse in Keyhaven Road.

However, the committee cited concerns over the “cramped” nature of the proposal, and argued the eight parking spaces were insufficient.

“This reminds me of sardines in a tin,” Cllr David Hawkins remarked. “There’s no room to move, no obvious room, and no room to park cars.”

All 16 members voted to refuse permission, several members doing so after also flagging up worries over the proposed access to the development.

The future of the Grade II-listed pub – which councillors heard has been put up for sale by the brewery that owns it – is unclear, therefore there cannot be any guarantees over access to the planned houses via a road off Keyhaven Road that passes the pub.

So the developer has suggested residents use nearby Grebe Close, where a fence would be taken down to create an access point into the proposed development.

However, this presented its own problems because of a land dispute – one resident claims to own the fence in question, but the developers say the boundary is theirs and they can tear it down.

While Hampshire County Council’s highways department raised no objection to access via Grebe Close, NFDC members branded it “dangerous”.

Several councillors on the planning committee pointed out Grebe Close was narrow, often full of parked cars and had no pavements.

Cllr Hawkins said sending more cars along there was “absolute madness”; an opinion endorsed by Cllr Maureen Holding, who slammed the highways team.

“What would happen if there was a fire there, or an ambulance had to get through?” she said. “Highways again and again bring things to us they say are okay and they’re not. It’s not good.”

The refusal was welcome news to the group of residents present at the meeting who were opposed to the application. In total, 10 villagers submitted formal objections and 28 signed a petition, while Milford Parish Council was also against it.

Speaking on their behalf, Mrs Brushwood said they supported the principle of developing the site but thought the scheme was inappropriate. She pointed out Bayview owns another undeveloped parcel of land between the site and the pub and questioned what would happen with that in the future.

Parish councillor Sue Whitlock criticised the lack of affordable housing and also took aim at HCC for claiming Grebe Close was an acceptable access to the proposed site.

“It may be those arrangements and the parking spaces on this site tick the boxes of acceptability, but on the ground they are ludicrous,” she said. “It’s unbelievable highways can support increasing the amount of traffic [on Grebe Close].”

In rejecting the proposal, district councillors went against the advice of their own officers, who said it should be approved with conditions.

They had heard from Adam Bennett, of Bayview’s agent Ken Parke Planning Consultants. He said the developer had secured a legal agreement with the brewery over construction vehicles accessing the development site via Keyhaven Road when building the houses.

Bayview, he pointed out, had already proposed a bigger development, but scaled it back this time having “engaged positively” with NFDC. Mr Bennett also stressed the on-site parking met council guidelines.

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