ALTON is already set to take enough large scale developments over the next five years – and should not have to endure yet more extension of the town into open countryside.

This is the response of Alton Town Council’s (ATC) planning committee to East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) proposals for a possible 600-home development on its boundary with Binsted parish at Neatham Down, and a new 1,200 village at Chawton Park Farm.

While both have been previously rejected by EHDC, they are two of ten additional large scale development sites currently being considered for inclusion in the emerging Local Plan.

In a letter of objection to these two new sites, ATC points out that, with the Coors Brewery site about to come on board and an extension to the Will Hall Farm site on the cards, adding to extensive development already in progress, Alton has already met the requirement to take a level of housing over and above its allocated quota.

On the Neatham Down site, councillors believe that creating an unsustainable new settlement on the south side of the A31 would have “a significant detrimental impact” on the landscape, outside the settlement boundary and remote from the rest of the town.

It would, they fear, create an “unacceptable precedent” leading to further development and resulting in Alton straddling both sides of the A31, ruining the placement and setting of the town.

They have expressed concern too over the impact of pollution on the health of those living close to an A-road. And that the proposed development would cause overload on the road network into the Holybourne end of town, which is already at peak time capacity.

On Chawton Park Farm, ATC finds “unacceptable” the acknowledged constraints on the site; including landscape, setting and capacity, highway impact, the proximity of ancient woodland, heritage assets, and nature and ecological designations.

It flags up in particular concerns over access via the “very narrow” railway bridge on Northfield Lane, which the developer has no plans to widen. Despite accessibility problems, they suggest that being remote from the rest of the town would put too much reliance on the car – an issue that could not, it was felt, be addressed solely by the Number 64 bus service.

There is concern too that, together with other large scale development in the town, medical and secondary school provision would not be met. And that the wildlife and ecology of the natural green barrier between Alton and Four Marks would come under unacceptable strain.