MORE than 600 people have signed a petition to demand a change in housing strategy in Hart.

The We Heart Hart campaign, started by a man from Hartley Wintney, had 637 supporters by the time The Gazette went to press.

David Turver set up the petition two weeks ago in a bid to get Hart District Council to reduce its proposed new housing figure and to stop its plan to build a new town in Winchfield.

As reported in The Gazette, Hart wants to build 4,000 new homes up to the year 2032, in the hope developer contributions will pay for infrastructure improvements, such as a new secondary school.

Hart is currently testing Winchfield as a site for building a new town with an eventual total of 5,000 new homes.

Mr Turver said: “A new town will lead to an extra 12,500 people on the outskirts of the existing settlements and of course many of them will work in Basingstoke, Fleet, Farnham, Farnborough and Aldershot and will have to drive through Hartley Wintney, Hook, Dogmersfield, Fleet and the Crookhams to go about their business.

“It is time for Hart to think again.”

He said neighbouring authorities struggling to find new sites for housing may claim Hart can take more if Winchfield is developed into a town.

Mr Turver added the overall number of new homes planned should be reduced and, rather than building a new town, brownfield sites such as disused office buildings should be converted into new homes.

The petition will be handed into Hart District Council, but will remain open until this year’s local elections in May.

Tristam Cary, member of Winchfield Action Group, said: “It is really encouraging to see people right across Hart opposing a new town in Winchfield as they realise the devastating impact it will have on the whole of the district as well as on one of the most attractive parts of Hart.

“It will also take away one of the most popular amenity areas in the district.”