The secretary of state for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Robert Jenrick, dismissed the appeal earlier this week, in line with recommendations from the planning inspector.
The 59-hectare development, north west of Fleet, was initially rejected by Hart District Council last year, but Wates Developments Ltd appealed. The appeal was subsequently recovered by MHCLG under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Town and Country Planning Act 1990
03 Mar 2016
The planning inspector opened a consultation in January to help draw up a report for the housing secretary who agreed that the development could negatively impact the Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area (SPA), home to breeding bird populations of Dartford warbler, nightjar and wood lark.
Jenrick was concerned that increased recreational pressure from additional residents and their pets, “dogs in particular”, would have a detrimental impact on the protected birds.
The secretary of state also agreed with the planning inspector that the proposed development went against Hart District Council’s emerging local plan. He said the proposal went against “the plan-making process [which] has decided is inappropriate for the district”.
Wates Developments has six weeks to decide whether or not it will challenge the secretary of state’s decision in the High Court.