It is now general knowledge that the Abingworth developer wishes to submit a revised planning application for the second and final phase of the housing development, and the Parish Council wants to consult with the Thakeham community about the options.
Although there is not yet a full detailed proposal, indications are that, without extending the consented building area, the proposed change would increase total house numbers by 40-50 over the 147 currently permitted. While such a change would be significant, there are good reasons to consider it seriously and pause for further thought. The current scheme does not seem to reflect local demand, being dominated by a large number of homes designated for the over-55s, alongside mainly large executive-style houses. A better balance of smaller and medium-sized homes could allow more local families to remain in the area.
Some increase in house numbers at Abingworth would also strengthen our ability, under our Neighbourhood Plan, to resist speculative development of less suitable green spaces over coming years. There may also be an opportunity to secure additional village benefits, beyond the new facilities already due from the project (new Village Hall, shop, sports facilities and Pre-school).
Our Neighbourhood Plan does allow for some further change in mix and a “modest increase” of houses at Abingworth, subject to limits on increased impact. To assess potential negative impacts and how they might be limited we will need more information and clarity on the net numbers of likely new residents and what that implies for age groups, vehicle movements etc.
We are approaching this in a measured and consultative way, before decisions are required (probably in early autumn). It is essential that the community has full opportunity to understand, question and give views on the issues. As and when a further planning application is submitted, this will include a public meeting to review the plans and get feedback in open forum. As a first step we invite you to tell us what you think about what is the right housing mix, whether some more houses on the site would be acceptable, and whether there are missing facilities or support services that the parish should pursue as part of this. In particular:
- Do you support a change of housing mix? If so, what kind of mix would you favour?
- Do you feel that the site can accommodate some additional residents without undue impact?
- Are there missing facilities or support services in Thakeham that you feel we should pursue?
Please use the comments space below to give us your views on these issues. All responses will be considered by the Parish Council. This is an important point in the process of revitalising our village so please take this opportunity to have your say.
Chairman, Thakeham Parish Council