The countryside champions

Press Release: 7th October 2011

Silence of the plans risks building horror story in the Test Valley District

New research published on 1st October by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) suggests that the Test Valley District Council will be vulnerable to a planning free-for-all under the new national planning regime the government intends to introduce in April 2012.

John Cooper says:

"The Core Strategy - the master plan for development across the Borough- was rejected by the Inspector last year, so Test Valley is very much at risk. The new planning proposals are scheduled for introduction next year, at a time when our local plan is not up to date. It means that the proposed laxer national planning rules will apply. We will be left almost defenceless against unwanted development on green fields."

"We fear a free for all where developers and their lawyers will exploit gaps in planning policy. We worry that developers who are planning schemes across the district will take advantage of councillors' uncertainty about the new system and bulldoze unneeded schemes through. We are concerned that Test Valley will be subject to a deluge of market housing and business parks on green fields, and will not get the affordable housing it so desperately needs."

"In Northern Test Valley we are particularly concerned that earlier proposals rejected at the time will re-emerge; the Bere Hill Farm and Little Park Farm at Abbotts Ann are just 2 examples. There are also other developments across the Borough which are in the pipeline and could be accepted because there is no updated local plan."

CPRE Hampshire urges local residents to sign the petition at and to write to their MP. For membership enquiries please contact

Nationally almost half of England's local authorities (48 per cent) will be without a planning Core Strategy on 1 April 2012 when changes to the planning system are expected to take effect. This means that nearly half the country will be very vulnerable to unplanned, poor quality development. A fifth of Core Strategies (18 per cent) are still likely to be missing a year after the new guidance comes into force.

- Ends -


Notes to editors

  1. CPRE's full dataset of local authorities can be downloaded from:
  2. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will be introduced on 1 April 2012. The government consultation on the draft document ends on 17 October. CPRE is encouraging concerned residents to object to the draft. More information at
  3. The Framework proposes that wherever local plans are "sent, silent, indeterminate or where relevant policies are out of date" councils will be required to approve any development as long as developers can claim the adverse impacts will not "significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole". The Framework "taken as a whole" provides little protection against sprawling, poor quality development in the countryside. Local authorities without an up to date plan in place will find it very hard to say to say 'no' to development.
  4. CPRE Hampshire strives to promote the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of the countryside of Hampshire by the sustainable use of land and other resources in town and country, and encouraging the biodiversity and well-being of rural communities.

Regional Data:

  Expected to be adopted by April 2012 Expected to be adopted May-Dec 2012 Expected to be adopted 2013 - or later
East Midlands35%43%22%
East of England52%17%31%
North East71%14%7%
North West50%32%21%
South East50%29%21%
South West37%43%14%
West Midlands46%42%15%

For all media enquiries, please contact:
Keren Burney, media & communications officer, CPRE Hampshire
Tel: 01730 894123   Mobile: 07876 780065

For information on CPRE, please contact:
Anthony McEwen, Director, CPRE Hampshire
Tel: 01962 779185   Mobile: 07717 296025