Homeowners have won a battle against retail giant John Lewis after they stopped the building of a dozen affordable homes.
The retailer was forced to scrap the development after it said there was ‘a significant level of opposition to the scheme’ in a letter to the parish council.
Locals feared the development of the 12 new house was too big and would bring an increase in traffic.
Many young people in the area had hoped John Lewis’s plan would create affordable housing in an area they wanted to live in.
The average property in Longstock, where John Lewis also has a farm shop and a café, was £1million in 2020, an 8% increase in the past five years.
A group of ageing homeowners in Longstock (pictured) has won a battle against retail giant John Lewis for control of their village as they stopped the building of a dozen cheap homes
John Lewis already owns a cafe and a farm shop in the village of Longstock, where it had hoped to build 12 affordable homes
Almost half of Longstock’s population are aged 40 to 69 out of a total 475 people, an average higher than in the rest of the borough.
The company had planned to build the homes with the parish council and Rural England, although was not going to develop them directly.
A John Lewis spokesman said it was ‘committed to finding a solution to deliver affordable housing’ in the area and it was currently considering alternative sites.
‘The decision not to progress with the Church Lane site is not one we took lightly.
‘There was not a clear local majority in support of the development, which is a key measure for us and something we promised to adhere to given our heritage here and role within the village.’
The company’s chair, Dame Sharon White, had hoped to build 12 new homes to rent out in Longstock, Hampshire, in a bid to rely less on retail and more on letting out social housing.
Last year she made clear her intention to make 40 per cent of profits in the next ten years outside of retail shops.
The company has a large property portfolio in the neighbouring village of Leckford, Hampshire
Even the Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North Caroline Nokes backed the plan in May.
She said one of the main hardships for young and older people alike in the village was to have affordable housing available.
The John Lewis partnership hopes to develop 10,000 homes to rent out in the next ten years as part of that plan.
Although John Lewis cut its losses in the past year by a whopping £606million from £635million in September 2020 to £29million in the same month this year, the company remains in £1.7billion of debt.
Much is resting on bumper Christmas sales after it posted a £29million loss in the first half of 2021.
Their recent strife, caused by the pandemic sending retail plummeting, only cemented their vision to step back from the retail business in favour of real estate.
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