Residents of Four Marks and Medstead are raising concerns about a proposal to designate their villages as “more sustainable” locations in East Hampshire District Council’s new Local Plan.

The plan, which would see the villages move up from Tier 3 to Tier 2 in the settlement hierarchy, has sparked fears it could be used to justify the construction of even more houses in the area.

Local advocacy group Stand with Medstead Against Speculative Housing (SMASH) is campaigning against it, arguing that extra housing would be unsustainable and overwhelming for the two villages.

In a statement, SMASH said: “We believe this will be used by the council to justify siting even more houses here on top of the enormous number we have had over the past nine years. We feel this proposal is wrong and we are robustly challenging it.

“Our two villages need to fight this change or one or two huge housing estates of 650-plus houses could be landing our way.”

Over the past nine years 600 homes have been built in Four Marks and Medstead, and some residents fear the proposed change to the settlement hierarchy could lead to further strain on local resources and infrastructure.

East Hampshire District Council must allocate land for another 1,300 houses in its new Local Plan – and following its U-turn on making Chawton Park Farm its ‘preferred’ site, Medstead and Four Marks are among several places under consideration.