REPRIEVE FOR 8 WEEKS
Cllr Keith Watts has just said that,
Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council has informed the agent for the owners of the Harvest Home that a “prior approval” is required before demolition of the building. This means that the Council then has a further period of 8 weeks in which to determine whether to approve these details and conditions can be added at this stage.
This is because, although the Council is satisfied with the details already submitted, it wants to impose conditions to ensure compliance with the plan to remove the Japanese knotweed, and for a plan to be submitted on how to protect the adjacent watercourse.
The “prior approval” application is not a usual planning application and again, only those details relating to the method of demolition and site restoration can be considered.
YOUR HELP IS ESSENTIAL
This is great news for concerned local residents – there is now more time to gather details about bats that have been and may still be at the Harvest Home. Reporting on bats roosting at the building may be the only way to prevent demolition since a B&DBC officer decided not to impose an Article 4 Direction – see story HERE.
The clock is ticking though: the building will remain standing for just 8 weeks from 22 June.
The campaign is asking for anyone with experience surveying bats or dealing with bats in regards to planning applications to step forward to help.
In addition, locals that have information about bats at the Harvest Home are being urged to put it into writing – you can make a statement through the campaign website http://savetheharvesthome.org.uk/ under ‘Contact’. Alternatively, emails can be sent to this website at firstname.lastname@example.org — Statements should be specific and include your name and contact details.
For example, When were you aware of bats at the property? Have you pictures of bats or any bat boxes fitted to the property? Did you witness bat activity recently? What time/date/nature of bat activity was it?
OVERWHELMING COMMUNITY SUPPORT
Hundreds of locals have already signed the petition and turned out for the public meeting – but this appears not enough to satisfy the B&DBC Council leader Cllr Andrew Finney who told the Basingstoke Gazette,
…at the moment there is concern in the local community but it doesn’t fall into the category of ‘overwhelming’.
It is unclear how many more people need to come forward in order for B&DBC to recognise ‘overwhelming’ support in Whitchurch for the preservation of our town’s heritage and a building of local interest.