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Alresford councillors criticised over town plan
7:00pm Friday 21st September 2012 in Winchester
Alresford town councillors came under fire for an alleged lack of transparency over the controversial town plan issue.
The council is drawing up its ideas for how Alresford could develop over the next 20 years.
Some of the suggestions have been controversial notably relocating Perins school, The Dean industrial estate and building homes on farmland off Sun Lane.
A packed public meeting was held at Arlebury Recreation Centre in May and a follow-up meeting was due to be held this month.
Resident Janet Barker, of Windermere Gardens, told the town council last Thursday she was unhappy with the lack of consultation over the issue and was considering a formal complaint of maladministration. “We are not being brushed aside,” she said.
Another resident, Brian Tippett, of Derwent Gardens, said the council should draw up a clearer calendar of events so people “know what is happening, when it will happen, so no-one is driving into the dark.”
Cllr Roy Gentry said he had not responded to any emails over the town plan. “I got a lot of animosity towards me personally coming out of the public meetings. I chose not to put fuel on the fire and chose not to respond.”
The council wants to draw up ideas to deter the city council from foisting its own plans on the town.
Since the summer the deadline for its input to Winchester City Council has been put back to April 2013.
A report to the town council said the Government announcement that it wanted to water down planning restrictions and the requirement for affordable housing on big schemes had been “disruptive.”
The report said: “The owners of the two major sites for potential development have been cooperative in working with the town council to the benefit of the town as a whole but if the government proposals become law, the financial incentive to build high-value properties may be irresistible.
“We need a variety of housing types in Alresford, including affordable, for its ongoing vitality as a thriving community.”
Meanwhile the Alresford Society has formed a group to look at mixed-use development at The Dean. With infill development, they both could provide room for 200 homes, half the estimated requirement of 400 over the next 20 years.