Some great news emerged on Monday afternoon. The Pale Lane Appeal has been quashed by the Secretary of State. This means there won’t be any development in that location at least up until 2032. The complete decision document can be found here.
The Secretary of State examined a number of of issues in coming to his decision.
The issue that carried the strongest weight was the Hartley Wintney Neighbourhood Plan (HWNP). The Pale Lane site falls partially within the Hartley Wintney Parish. It was not allocated for development within the HWNP and this carried “significant weight”. So, we must thank Hartley Wintney Parish Council on their efforts that saw the Neightbourhood Plan “made” only last month.
Other issues considered included:
- The emerging Hart Local Plan, which also does not allocate Pale Lane. However, despite being close to being approved only carried “moderate weight”.
- He also considered that even if Pale Lane were refused, there would still be more than five years land supply.
- The potential loss of Best and Most Versatile agricultural land was considered “moderate weight”.
- Sadly, the highways, health, education and quality of life issues raised by the Stop Elvetham Chase group carried no weight.
The now infamous letter from CCH to Ranil wasn’t even mentioned in the report. So, it seems that the fight against Pale Lane was won irrespective of their efforts. However, the letter they wrote has caused them predetermination problems with their pet Shapley Heath project.
It seems the lesson here is to focus on the real planning issues and get Neighbourhood Plans in place if we want to combat further unnecessary and undesirable greenfield development.
Our local MP, Ranil Jayawardena has now come out unequivocally against large scale green field development. This includes Shapley Heath, Rye Common and West of Hook. He has produced a constituency charter. We ask that you consider signing his charter that can be found here. This complements his call for bold regeneration plans.