The Say No to Chawton Park Farm campaign has applauded East Hampshire District Council leader Cllr Richard Millard for his “fighting talk”.
Campaigners are delighted at “movement” in the council’s approach to housing numbers, building locations and alternatives to the government’s standard method of calculating numbers expressed by Cllr Millard at a council meeting on May 19, in the Herald and in a letter to them.
A spokesperson said: “The council intends to challenge both the South Downs National Park and the government, and present residents with a re-draft of the Local Plan to be consulted on in November of this year.
“The revised Local Plan is also to include the council’s green initiatives, for example it to be standard that developers build zero-carbon homes in the district.
“If East Hampshire District Council really do follow through and are successful in their aims, this could be a game changer for the likelihood of development at Chawton Park Farm.”
The council needs to build an extra 1,200 houses in the 15-year duration of the Local Plan because of new rules issued in March. It aims to negotiate a higher building rate in the South Downs National Park and challenge the government on the number.
At the meeting, Cllr Millard talked about the difficulties the council faces with so much of the district’s land inside the national park. Emphasising the lack of a border, he warned the South Downs National Park Authority: “We’re not talking about North and South Korea here, we’re talking about East Hampshire – there is no line of demarcation.
“You have to take some houses and we will fight you on it because we have to. As well as consulting residents again, we will be challenging the government on the new housing numbers and talking to the national park about building more homes in the park.”
The campaign “fully supports” the exploration of alternatives to the standard method confirmed by Cllr Millard in his letter. This could allow the national park to be categorised as an “exceptional circumstance” or “constraint’ to reduce the housing number target for the remaining 43 per cent of East Hampshire.
A meeting between the campaigners and the council has been postponed until the new timetable for the Local Plan has been established.