AN UPDATED version of a document proposing sites in Stratford district to be reserved or put forward for housing, has been approved by council leaders.
Stratford District Council’s (SDC) cabinet recently agreed the ‘preferred options’ version of its Site Allocations Plan should be put to the public subject to a full council meeting later this month.
The plan accompanies the adopted core strategy – which shapes future development in the district until 2031 – and lists potential housing sites to safeguard the district from opportunist developers.
The latest version has elevated former ‘reserve sites’ to ‘site specific proposals’ including land at Meon Vale.
The proposal for a further 300 homes on some 80 acres of woodland has caused an outcry among residents who describe the area as a ‘lifeline’ and ‘green lung’.
SDC leader Coun Tony Jefferson said: “We fully recognise the concerns expressed by local residents regarding the proposal at Meon Vale. Just to be clear, we are not making a decision about whether this site should be developed – we are simply asking the question whether this site should be developed for housing and if so, what that development might be like. We want to give residents across the district the opportunity to have their say.
“By being proactive about the difficult development challenges this district faces, we can retain control of planning across the district.
“By including the Meon Valley site in the Site Allocations Plan, the results of the consultation could allow us to exercise greater design and layout controls with developers, in the event this site was to come forward as a planning application in the future.
“A decision as to whether to proceed with the site at Meon Vale or any other site proposed in the plan will be taken next spring following another round of public consultation.
“The cabinet supported the plan for consideration at full council, as this would enable a public consultation to be progressed and could lead to obtaining the evidence required to exclude sites following this process.”
He added the council was fully in support of the Climate Emergency Agenda and its objective was to retain woodland plantation areas the district.
But he did say the only trees fully protected from development were those designated by a tree preservation order.
As well as a number of specific proposals, the document includes reserve housing sites, sites for self-build and custom-build housing, and identifies built-up area boundaries.
The preferred options version of the Site Allocations Plan will go to full council on Monday October 19 for approval for public consultation.