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Strategy approved after plea by Burton villagers dismissed
THE Battle for Burton village was fought at Christchurch council as members approved the contentious Core Strategy.
A full council meeting at Christchurch saw the document, which details proposals for the local economy, environment, health, homes and community needs, passed to the Secretary of State.
But concerns have been raised about a new housing development at Burton, community facilities and allotment relocation among many other issues. At Tuesday night’s meeting, deputy council leader, Cllr Colin Jamieson, ward member for Burton, urged councillors to remove plans for 45 houses on greenbelt land at Burton, in an eleventh hour amendment.
He said: “There is no doubt that the interests of my constituents will be very much adversely affected if this policy is included. I have been inundated with communications from residents expressing their concerns regarding this proposal.”
Cllr Jamieson said the proposal was not included in earlier stages of the consultation, only appearing in the pre-submission document in 2012.
“I am convinced that if this policy had been included in the proper place at the proper time, it would have been rejected,” he added.
He suggested the houses could be included in the 950-home urban extension at Roeshot Hill without harming the land at Burton.
Cllr David Jones, county councillor for Burton and Grange seconded the amendment, saying there was no guarantee the proposed new homes would be occupied by local families living in Burton and likened the plans to railroads being built through US settlements.
Independent councillor Colin Bungey added: “I do feel like we are being put under pressure, almost railroaded into making a decision because it’s taken seven years to put together this document.
“The farm buildings are a big part of the community. We have got to look at this long-term.”
However, despite passionate debate from both sides on the issue, many councillors were fearful about delaying the process, worried about the threat they faced from developers should they have to go back out to consultation.
They also said it would make the village extremely vulnerable, with the possibility of more houses being built if the amendment was passed.
Cllr Ray Nottage said: “The parish council survey in 2006 showed there was a need for 24 affordable houses in Burton. That was in 2006 and those houses have never been developed. They have to be. If we do not do this, Burton is unprotected.”
Fifteen councillors voted in favour of passing the core strategy to the next stage with eight abstentions.