Harmony in Hurdle Way

Harmony in Hurdle Way,
but only for the time being

Residents opposed to plans to build homes in Compton Down, Winchester, have won a minor victory – but only for the time being.

The plan to knock down a house, Longacre, in Hurdle Way, to make way for 14 flats and three houses was rejected by Winchester planners.

But they were advised by officers that Abbotswood Properties had already submitted a new application and were preparing proposals to get it through.

Planners refused it because they said it would not be able to stand the extra traffic and its junction with Otterbourne Road offered inadequate visibility. However, engineers said the road could be upgraded.

There has been huge opposition to the plan. In April, over 100 residents confronted members of a sub-committee at a public meeting to complain that the scheme would lead to a doubling of traffic, with residents and services unable to cope.

They also felt the flats were too big and out of keeping with the semi-rural environment.

Overall, the council received 146 letters of concern from residents.

A spokesman said officers believed the proposals would fit into the current character of the surrounding area and its location set back from the road would not create an adverse impact. They added the developers had reduced the height of the property.

A representative of the Compton Down Society pleaded with the committee to take heed of all the objections and asked how an increase of 17 properties could be in keeping with a low-density area.

Murray Macmillan, Tory member for Compton and Otterbourne, said people were very concerned about the sustainability of the site. “This building has to be dealt with in the wider view of Compton Down.”

Lib Dem member for Wickham, Thérése Evans, agreed: “The design is nice, but it would have a tremendous effect on the area.

“If we don’t refuse it, I can see there will be a lot of similar applications. If it was in a village, I’d feel differently, but this could lead to a development in an area that can’t support it.”

Patrick Davies, Labour member for St Luke, was reluctant to reject the plan merely on the basis of road problems.

Planners refused the application on the basis of officers’ recommendations, but said conditions regarding sustainability and desirability would have to be considered alongside any future applications.

HAMPSHIRE CHRONICLE, Friday August 8, 2003 reproduced by permission of the editor