Owens Farm – Threat to Jubilee Green & Hook Common

Recently we advised you of applications to:

  • deregister part of the Jubilee Green – site of the War Memorial
  • carry out restricted work on Hook common in Newnham Road.

The applicant’s intention is to use parts of these green spaces to resolve the traffic issues inherent in the Owens Farm planning application for 700 homes, despite their previous claims to have already resolved all of the transport and access issues!

The notification to change the use of these green spaces advises “Any representations should be sent in writing ON or BEFORE 14th March”.

As you know, Hart’s refusal of the Owens Farm application has gone to appeal and the appeal hearing starts on 19th March. The appellant was due to publish their Proofs of Evidence for the Owens Farm appeal on 26th February. We expected these to include information on how the developer believes tarmacking parts of Jubilee Green and Hook Common will resolve the traffic issues associated with the proposed housing development. We now understand the publication of this evidence has been postponed to March which does not give us time to fully assess it before representations are due on these two applications.

Based on the information we have to date we can provide the following reasons for refusal of these applications.

The amenity value of these two sites is endorsed by the emerging Hook Neighbourhood plan which puts a strong focus on protecting open spaces – including these two sites. It also identifies Jubilee Green as an area of special character.

We do not believe that tarmacking parts of both these sites will resolve the traffic problems inherent in the Owens Farm application. They only widen part of Newnham Road and do nothing with respect to Kingsbridge in Old School Road.

Furthermore it is difficult to see how effective traffic flow will be achieved past Southview Cottages in Newnham Road without either prohibiting parking or taking even more of Jubilee Green to widen the road. Approval of this application could provide a precedent for a future such application.

If these applications and the Owen Farm appeal are allowed it will considerably increase the traffic past both the green and the common with an increase in noise and pollution. Alternatively, if (as we hope) the Owens Farm appeal is rejected, then there is absolutely no justification for degradation of either of these sites.

We strongly believe the 2 applications should be refused! Village greens and common land are not the property of greedy landowners seeking to cash-in on the demand from developers who don’t care about the community – they are OUR land and OUR amenity and it is vital to protect them.

No doubt, you will have your own thoughts on why these spaces should remain untouched. We appreciate that many of you have already objected to the original planning application and to the amended planning application with the revised traffic measures. However, we urge you to reject this further attempt by the developer to overcome the un-resolvable traffic issues by objecting to both these applications.

Objections should be submitted on or before 14 March 2019 by email to commonlandcasework@pins.gsi.gov.uk or by post to the Planning Inspectorate, Commons Team, 3F Temple Quay House, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN

One response can cover both applications. You must be clear which applications you are referring to and reference them as follows and as described on the applications:

  1. Proposed works at Hook Common (CL no. CL 169)
  2. Deregistration of land at Village Green, Newnham, Hook (VG number VG 138) – known locally as Jubilee Green

Further details with maps showing areas of Jubilee Green and common land affected are at: http://hook.gov.uk/owen-farm-proposed-development-update/.

This matter is being decided by the Planning Inspectorate and in such cases the public do not see the representations made. It would be helpful for us at the Owens Farm appeal to know how many representations have been made. Hence we would be grateful if you would copy email representations to survey@hookdevaction.org.uk but be sure to send it to the official Planning Inspectorate email as we cannot make representations on your behalf.

A copy of the developer’s application forms can be inspected at the office of Hook Parish Council, Hook Community Centre, Ravenscroft, Hook, RG27 9NN between 9am and midday Monday-Friday until 14 March 2019 or by appointment.