EAST Hampshire District Council’s updated Local Plan has identified a new site near Alton for a 1,200-home development despite fierce local opposition.

The district council announced on Monday it has earmarked Chawton Park Farm, west of Alton, as the "most sustainable area to develop" following the council's Large Site Consultation held at the end of 2019.

The site, sandwiched between Ackender and Chawton woods in the countryside between Alton and Four Marks, was one of ten considered by the district council to meet government housing targets.

And the district's updated Local Plan has also suggested a reduction in homes planned for Whitehill & Bordon, from 1,300 to approximately 800 homes following concerns over local biodiversity.

However, the Chawton Park Farm plans are likely to prove just as controversial, after a district councillor warned plans to build 1,200 homes on Chawton Park Farm would do “the most possible damage to existing residents”.

Developer Harrow Estates exhibited its draft plans during a packed out public meeting at Chawton Village Hall in October 2019. And it promises to bring new infrastructure to the area including a new primary school, community facilities and affordable housing.

But responding during the 2019 meeting, Four Marks & Medstead councillor Ingrid Thomas described the plan as “entirely ill-thought out” and likely to cause the “most” amount of harm to residents living nearby.

Harrow's proposal, and its designation as a large site in East Hampshire's plan, will be discussed by the district council's planning policy committee at its next meeting on July 6.

In total, the district's Local Plan must provide for the development of at least 11,000 homes, including homes already built or given permission from 2017 onwards, a target set out by the Government.

Cllr Angela Glass, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy, said: “Our Local Plan must meet the housing figures laid down by the Government and that means finding areas for large developments.

“The Large Sites Consultation looked at ten possible locations for development and our research shows Whitehill & Bordon and Chawton Park Farm are the most sustainable areas to develop.

“Chawton Park Farm’s suitability rests largely on its proximity to Alton and the availability of important local amenities and transport infrastructure.

“The site will also bring forward infrastructure of its own to support the new population, including a new primary school, community facilities and affordable housing.

“It is important to remember that East Hampshire suffers from an acute shortage of affordable housing and it is important for the continued health and diversity of our communities that this is addressed by the Local Plan.”

* WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is the promise of more housing in Alton to be welcomed, helping meet demand and giving more local people a first step on the housing ladder? Or has the town already had its fair share of new homes? Do you welcome the council rejecting 500 extra homes at Bordon, or is another 800 still too much? Email [email protected]