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Countryside fields

Support for countryside protection in Test Valley

Measures to further protect areas of countryside in southern Test Valley have been supported by councillors after a full meeting.

The motion, launched by Test Valley Borough Council’s planning portfolio holder, councillor Nick Adams-King, means the authority is now backing the principle for the further measures, which could include the creation of a green belt, that could protect the countryside between towns and villages in the south of the borough.

The idea of a green belt or other forms of protection would mean Test Valley Borough Council continuing to work alongside other authorities in the county, such as Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council in helping to designate appropriate areas for future protection from development. Southern Hampshire would be covered by these potential added measures, including areas between Portsmouth and Southampton, which could mean protection for the south of Romsey and the surrounding areas.

The proposal would mean local authorities, including TVBC, being relied upon to consider urban and brownfield sites for development, before being able to sanction development in the countryside.

At a full council meeting, members voted in favour of supporting the principles for further protection belt’s creation, which is being proposed by countryside charity, CPRE Hampshire. Their campaign has amassed around 15,000 signatures for the creation of the belt.

Councillor Adams-King said: “For TVBC, we always prefer development in urban areas and specifically on existing brownfield sites. However, due to the pressure on us to build houses from central government, we can find ourselves without any other option at times.

“The creation of a green belt in the south of the county would offer these villages and towns protection from development in the larger more populated areas, particularly around Southampton. I’m very pleased that my fellow councillors have supported the motion which will give us more protection for the countryside, including the possible creation of a green belt, that will all help to ensure homes are built in the right places at the right times.”