TOWN councillors have ‘U-turned’ and are set to support plans to build nearly 400 homes on farmland on the edge of Alresford.
After a string of meetings and exhibitions, some forced by public pressure, the council will meet tomorrow (TUES) to debate endorsing the proposal for development off Sun Lane.
Winchester City Council's Local Plan Part One requires 500 new homes in Alresford between 2011 and 2031, and 386 are yet to be allocated.
On May 27 a 500-strong meeting saw residents slam the plans, forcing a public exhibition of alternative options and a further public meeting on July 18.
The move is a U-turn from May’s meeting, where most councillors agreed to reconsider their views and chairman, Lisa Griffiths, said: “Our job is to represent your views. So that is what we will do.”
Today she said: “We certainly said we would put up an alternative and see if there was a better solution, but we don’t see that there is a better solution. The feedback that we have everybody is very reluctant and nobody wants to do it, but it has to go somewhere and we don’t have an alternative that we feel is better.”
The new ideas would spread the development across the town, including west of New Farm Road and north of The Avenue.
It would still include 150 homes at Sun Lane, reduce the amount of open space, and have no provision for a new burial ground or industry.
A statement on the town council’s website reads: “After reviewing all the comments received, the town council is now minded to endorse the resolution it passed earlier this year in favour of the Sun Lane site. This is further strengthened by our discussions with Winchester City Council. We feel that the council should now focus on the way forward.”
The council is set to oppose vehicle access from the new development onto Sun Lane, a gypsy and traveller site adjacent to Sun Lane and development on any other land marked available for housing.
It will also campaign for access to the bypass to be built before any construction work, increased parking and amenity space for Sun Hill Schools, a buffer zone at least 50m wide on the parish boundary from the railway line down to Whitehill Lane to limit further expansion to the east and to protect existing housing with a detailed plan to safeguard them from flooding.
The website reads: “A comprehensive traffic plan is key to the entire project and we are sure that residents will engage with the developers during September when they plan to hold workshops to hear your views and suggestions on how they can mitigate the problems the extra traffic will bring to the town that we wish to safeguard.”
The meeting will be held at the town council offices at Alrebury Park tomorrow (July 29) at 7.30pm.