Targeted 120-home development for North Wessex Downs AONB site in Kingsclere

Plans are in sight for a 120-home development on the east side of Kingsclere.

Thakeham Homes is targeting land at Yew Tree Farm along Basingstoke Road for development, describing it as a “new sustainable neighbourhood”.

The scheme – which is mostly in the North Wessex Downs (AONB) Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty – is still in the preliminary stages, although the company has met with the parish council and drafted a ‘vision’ document.

Kingsclere Shipyard (57742419)

The proposals are separate from Vistry Group’s plans for 200 homes at Porch Farm, on the west side of the village, which recently went through a two-week online public consultation.

An in-person consultation by Vistry Group may take place soon.

In Thakeham’s ‘vision’ document for the Yew Tree Farm site, it is stated that 40% of homes would be affordable, while from 2025 all homes in Thakeham will be ‘net zero in lifetime use and neutral in carbon in production”.

Where the houses would be built
Where the houses would be built

A “new open green space” will be on the south side of the site and will become “an integral part of physical and mental wellbeing initiatives integrated into the development”.

A spokesperson for Thakeham said: ‘We believe the land at Yew Tree Farm offers the best option for new homes in Kingsclere due to its location as a logical extension of the village, proximity to amenities and multiple benefits that a sustainable Thakeham project would provide. for the community.

“Initial conversations we had reflect this opinion and unlike other sites in the village, the North Wessex Downs AONB Board said when consulted that at least part of the site would be suitable for residential development provided all plans adhere to the AONB framework.

They added that the company is committed to fully consulting with local residents and community groups.

Despite its green claims, the plans have not gone down well with the parish council, which ruled the site out for housing when creating its neighborhood plan in 2018.

The entrance to the farm off Basingstoke Road
The entrance to the farm off Basingstoke Road

The prerequisite for the plan at the time was that locations had been identified for 50 dwellings – the number the village had been allocated at the time by the borough council.

The three sites described in the ward plan as the most suitable for the construction of new houses were Fawconer Road, Coppice Road and Strokins Road in order to fill the gaps in the village.

Yew Tree Farm was rejected due to its location within the AONB.

However, the parish has now been allocated an additional 175 homes in the borough council’s rural spatial strategy – as part of its local plan update – and developers are trying to take advantage of the lack of supply of Five-year council housing land.

Sue Adams, planning matters officer for Kingsclere Parish Council, said the Thakeham Homes and Vistry projects were frustrating, adding: ‘It’s really disheartening for the people who worked on the ward plan because it took us five years, it was a lot of work, and suddenly you feel like it’s not worth it.

“But you continue to fight the good fight.”

She said the parish council was now playing a ‘waiting game’ for a public consultation or planning application from Thakeham Homes.

She continued: “The worst case scenario is that with the 200 houses offered on Porch Farm and those 120, that’s 320 more houses.

“This represents an increase of more than 20% in the size of Kingsclere.

“It’s a big expansion, and there are repercussions for all the infrastructure – the extra traffic, the congestion in the center of the village, the effect on the school, the doctor’s office, the dental office.

“I know people in Kingsclere who can’t get into the dental practice here, there’s a waiting list because it’s too crowded.

“There’s nothing we can do until they submit a planning request.”

Sara H. Byrd