PLANNING. This LLCA makes a strong case for protecting the village open spaces. This has been supported by previous rejections of development plans for key open spaces. Both Burlands and Barnfield/Under the Hill fields have had planning applications submitted and rejected by EHDC (2006) and the SDNPA (2012 and 2014). They were all subsequently appealed and dismissed by the planning inspectors: the most recent, Barnfield (2015) was dismissed for reasons related to its landscape setting in the village.
A sample inspectors report follows.
Extract from The Planning Inspector’s Report on Objections – EHDC Local Plan (2nd Review), 2006. Relates to First Deposit, (numerous) and Second Deposit SD5.04431. (Relates to both Burlands and Barnfield)
Whether Selborne is a sufficiently sustainable settlement to qualify for significant additional residential development, particularly at Barnfield and on land at Burlands Field.
Inspector’s Reasoning and Conclusions
5.6.39 Selborne is one of the most attractive villages in the County. It is a historic settlement of great charm. Its setting, between steeply rising wooded hangers and on the slopes that run down to the Oakhanger Stream, is exquisite and dramatic. The whole of its core and many of the surrounding fields that contribute to its setting are in the Conservation Area. The village is in the AONB. (Since superseded by the inclusion in the South Downs National Park).
5.6.40 The village is some 7km south of Alton. It has a primary school, a shop and 2 public houses. There is no railway station and the bus service is poor. Bus frequency varies between one and two an hour to Alton and one and three to Petersfield. The service to Alton is supplemented on school and college days. Even with an increased service during term time, any new residents would be heavily reliant on the larger settlements within and without the District. This means even more traffic on the roads. Village ameneties are not therefore, sufficient to provide for a significant housing allocation. (The Applicant) argues that Selborne should have additional housing because it is as sustainable as the settlements of Binstead and Liss Forest, where the SDDP allocates land. I agree that there is a broad similarity in terms of limited sustainability and, because neither of these settlements performs well in this important respect I recommend that the proposed allocations for them be deleted.
5.6.41 All settlements in the District can show an often acute need for affordable housing, but my conclusions on the distribution of housing in Chapter 5.2 of my report apply with equal force to Selborne, I deal with the claim, also made with respect to Selborne, that a development would assist in sustaining local services like the school and shop. More housing would be bound to contribute something to patronage and school role, but it is unlikely to prove a decisive factor in the long-term. In my judgement, supermarkets are likely to continue to offer a wider range of goods and become increasingly attractive to shoppers in so doing. The present limited degree of sustainability is a more forceful consideration than the small amount of additional support for local services that might be expected as a result of residential development on either or both of the Omission Sites. Alone it is enough to reject the Objectors’ proposals.
(Subsequently Alton has granted permission for two new supermarkets and these are under construction. Our village shop has had a change of ownership, and a total update, a new delicatessen has opened, and the school is turning away potential pupils from neighbouring villages because of the increased village children numbers.)
5.6.42 (Xxxxxxxxx) promotes a development on Barnfield, a paddock of about 1.9Ha at the southern end of the village. It is outside the SPB but in the Conservation Area. The proposal is for some 21 dwellings on 0.69ha with 1.21ha of open space. Affordable housing would be included. SDDP Policy C1, which I recommend should be incorporated in a modified Policy GS3, proscribes against development that would fail to respect sense of place or local distinctiveness. Development proposals, it says, must pay particular attention to the East Hampshire Countryside Design Summary (CDS) (Document CD14/1) and the Village Design Statements (VDS). The site is described on the Conservation Area Map as Under the Hill. It is one of a sequence of visually prominent open spaces between The Hangers and the built- up parts of the village. The CDS lays down a number of design guides. Briefly, it requires development to reflect the traditional form of settlements, recognise how they relate to their landscape, maintain the linear form of settlements by limiting back-land development and by being small scale, informal and dispersed in small groups.
5.6.43 The VDS (Document CD23/4) rightly identifies the open spaces in the village as important in reflecting the way in which the village has developed over the centuries. It describes them as “very desirable features which need to be protected as they contribute much to the sense of rural tranquillity even when viewed from a busy road.” Whilst both CDS and VDS are no more than Supplementary Planning Guidance, their detailed guidance seems to me to accord with the objectives of SDDP PoliciesC1 and C2, the latter being concerned with the AONB. The 21 dwellings would occupy about one third of the paddock and although partially hidden from Selborne Road, they would be prominent in views across the field from the west. The development would result in a major incursion and loss of open space within a meadow that in its open state is important to the attractive rural setting of this historic village. The destruction of the pastoral quality and integrity of this open space would be unfortunate, to put it mildly. The AONB would be damaged, and the development would neither preserve nor enhance the character or appearance of the Conservation Area.
5.6.44 It is implied that the development if hidden, would be acceptable. That presumes that unobtrusiveness is all that matters. It ignores the impact that a scheme would have on the character of the open space. I reject approach as does PPS7, because it would fail to protect the countryside for the sake of its intrinsic character and beauty. The development would be neither small scale nor dispersed in small groups as the VDS recommends. I also find that the Objectors conclusions on the existing form of building line along Selborne Road (Drawing HED408.9) to be ill conceived. If a notional building line is to be used, I consider that the Council’s evidence in Document PR94/1696 (Document 2, Plan 2) is closer to the normal interpretation of the term. That again, tells against the suggested development of the Omission Site.
5.6.45 The offer to the National Trust to manage the site as a meadow to improve the attractiveness of the village for visitors could be made irrespective of any development proposal. It does not have to be conditional on part of the field being developed for housing. The option would be too high a price to pay for the damage inflicted on this delightful historic village.
5.6.46 (The [second] Objectors) promote an allocation for 28-29 dwellings on land at Burlands Field. This site roughly triangular in shape, lies at the north of the village. It is outside the SPB and the Selborne Conservation Area, but adjoins both of them. It is an open field, defined by a sunken lane and hedge to the north, a tall hedge along Selborne Road and brick wall and close boarded fence to the south and west where it adjoins low density detached dwellings, one of which (The Grange) is a Listed Building. The sunken Lane is a public footpath, and another footpath crosses the site from Selborne Road to the West.
5.6.47 The Objectors cite the opportunity to redress the imbalance towards larger dwellings in Selborne, but this consideration applies not only here. Certainly when compared with the national average, the District as a whole displays a greater emphasis on larger houses and bungalows than on flats and terraced houses (Document CD16/8, Appendix 2, page 2). I accept the advantages of redressing this imbalance, particularly in the drive towards balanced communities and in securing the efficient use of land for housing. I am not persuaded in this case, however, that the contribution towards these objectives is justified. It is outweighed by the limited sustainability of Selborne, the implications that arise therefrom and the severe environmental damage that would be caused.
5.6.48 Although the site is not within the Conservation Area, development here would adversely affect its setting and that of the village. The VDS refers to Burlands Field as Culvers Croft; it stresses the importance of open spaces, describing the way in which they extend into the village in the form of pasture. It identifies Culvers Croft among those that should be protected. As with Barnfield, the VDS recognises the open spaces as very desirable features which need protection because they contribute to the sense of rural tranquillity even when viewed from a busy road. The scenic value of these open spaces deserves the strongest possible protection to ensure that the very special qualities of this historic and attractive village arte preserved.
5.6.49 The site lies in the valley of the Oakhanger Stream and is part of the natural and historic rural edge to Selborne. Development would take place on the lower slope of the valley leaving about half of the eastern part of the site as an open space. My reasons for rejecting this proposal are similar to those applying at Barnfield. Development here would destroy the integrity of this sensitive and important open space. The land might not be readily visible from Selborne Road, but it has attractive views within it, towards the edge of the village and beyond it. People using the footpath that crosses it have a ready appreciation of the happy juxtaposition of countryside and village.
5.6.50 That enjoyable rural experience of walking along the path would be replaced by a more urban or suburban one. The present views and character need to be retained and protected in their entirety. Because the site plays an important role in the countryside setting of the village the proposal would fail to preserve or enhance the natural beauty of the AONB. The introduction of even medium density housing adjacent to the low-density development on the village and Conservation Area would create an incongruous neighbour in this sensitive location that would be harmful to the setting of both. Vehicle access would be from a new roundabout at the northern end of the site. This would be another discordant, urban feature that would harm the attractive northern approach to the village, much detracting from its rural atmosphere.
5.6.51 The Objectors will note my recommendations elsewhere in my Report that allocations at Binsted, Lower Farringdon, Bentley and Medstead, settlements to which they refer, be deleted. A common theme in their rejection is their limited sustainability and the inevitable increase in traffic on country roads ill-suited to accommodate it. Serious environmental damage is another compelling.
5.6.52 Rejection of the Omission Sites means there is no cause to extend the SPB to include them.
5.6.53 I recommend that no modification be made to the SDDP.
OPEN SPACES to be PRESERVED
Peak Common Field
Little Peak Common Field
Barnfield/Under the Hill
The Rifle Range
Long The Plestor
Galley Hill Fields
* Protected in perpetuity by the National Trust.
|The Natural History of Selborne||Gilbert White/1789||9780 500 28478 0|
|Gilbert White||Richard Mabey/1986||9781 86197 807 3|
|Knights, Priests & Peasants||Ted Yates/2009||9780 9561953 0 2|
|Gilbert White and his Selborne||Anthony Rye/1970||7183 0431 4|
|Selborne||Rupert Willoughby/2000||9534428 2 9|
|The Flora of Hampshire||Anne Brewis & others/1996||946589 34 8|
|The History of the Countryside||Oliver Rackham/1986||84212 440 4|
|NT Selborne Newsletters||National Trust/ 2010 -2012|