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Hart villages in danger of being 'losers' in planning battle
A PLAN to protect land around Winchfield from development would threaten villages like Hartley Wintney and Hook, a meeting heard.
The Winchfield Action Group (WAG) wants Hart District Council to recognise 31sq km of rural area that sits between Fleet, Hartley Wintney, Hook and Odiham.
The group, set up last year, successfully fought off a plan to build 4,000 homes near Winchfield train station and has written to neighbouring villages to support its Heart of Hart idea.
But members of Hartley Wintney Parish Council said designation of that land as green-belt would force development on to other villages in Hart.
Leah Coney, parish clerk, said she had sought the advice of Daryl Phillips, head of planning at the district council, after receiving WAG’s request for support.
She said: “I would suggest our response would be that we do sympathise with why WAG was set up, but with the Heart of Hart concept, the great losers would be Hook and Hartley Wintney.
“If you block out an entire area and not have development there, the shortfall will be made up by other areas, and the only two villages with capacity are Hook and Hartley Wintney.”
Councillor David Wright said: “I think they want to build up a barrier of resistance to ancient woodland and surrounding areas from being spoilt.
“But if that means developers look elsewhere like Hartley Wintney, then I’m against.”
The parish council voted unanimously in favour of the clerk’s proposal.
Tristam Cary, chairman of WAG, previously told The Gazette that all surrounding villages would lose out if mass development was allowed in Winchfield, as they would lose their identity.