Binsted Parish Council has thrown its hat into the ring in the battle over where future large scale developments should go within East Hampshire.

In its response to the district council’s consultation on the ten potential ‘new village’ sites, two of which are to be included in the emerging Local Plan, Binsted believes it should rule out both the Northbrook Park (800 homes) and the Neatham Down (600) proposals.

Instead, Binsted favours those developments that would provide “a sustainable future for population growth” within the county.

“Sites should be chosen that increase the sustainability of existing population centres rather than creating new ones,” its response continued.

Councillors feel that any building should be at or close to villages or towns, such as Alton, Bordon and Four Marks, where there are already sustainable areas that exist or can be improved upon – and “not create new ones which merely achieve a numeric goal but decrease overall sustainability, such as Northbrook.”

Concentrating in particular on the two sites that most impact on the parish, the Binsted submission centres on Neatham and Northbrook.

Of Neatham, which lies within the parish of Binsted, they point out that “in reality it would be a suburb of Alton”. But, while it could appear to be a logical natural extension of the town, it would “mark a substantial significant adverse impact on the landscape.”

They believe the larger 1,200 home development at Chawton Park Farm on the other side of Alton would represent a “less imposing change to the environmental amenity as it is visually enclosed within the valley”.

Neatham would also throw up highways issues: being detached from the town by the A31 it would put too great an emphasis on the use of cars.

On Northbrook Park, in neighbouring Bentley, Binsted councillors believe it to be “in the wrong location for a major settlement” and should be “bottom on the list of contenders”.

An isolated site, standing in open countryside, according to Binsted: “It forms part of the rural gateway to Hampshire and as such has important visual landscape value.”

It also stands on an area of high flood risk from the River Wey on the south side of the A31, exacerbated by run-off from the park.

The parish council has concerns too about the impact of more traffic on the A31 and over sustainability, as the development will be highly dependent on vehicle transportation.