Fears over future of field at centre of three Hampshire villages

ROW Potential further housing development for Clanfield'. Picture: Andy Stevens
ROW Potential further housing development for Clanfield'. Picture: Andy Stevens
Fellow student Bethany Toon, 17, with Bruce Wetherill, 25, at St Vincent College, Gosport  Picture: Neil Marshall (171028-16)

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ONE of the most picturesque views on the South Downs could be lost to housing.

White Dirt Farm, which sits on the border of Clanfield, Horndean and Catherington, has been earmarked for 220 new homes by developer Taylor Wimpey.

Residents say they are ‘distraught’ at the prospect of losing the field, close to the new Green Lane development which has 275 homes.

A campaign has begun ahead of a consultation next week where the developers will outline their plans.

Jan Smith of Thornfield Close, Horndean, said: ‘We are distraught about this. Feelings are already running high because this is the local gap designated to separate the three villages.

‘I can’t imagine that view disappearing.

‘There is potential for irreversible damage to our semi-rural community.’

The government has told East Hampshire District Council it must find space for 700 new homes in the area but residents feel they are taking the brunt of it because the South Downs National Park is highly protected.

Councillor Guy Shepherd, who represents Horndean, said: ‘The White Dirt Lane field is probably the 
worst place to build on in Horndean.

‘It is an important piece of gap land and also gives valuable landscape views which are visible from the roads, footpaths and homes in the area.’

Cllr Shepherd carried out a poll of more than 1,000 people and 90 per cent were against the plans.

He added: ‘The community view is very clear that 
this land should not be built on.’

Taylor Wimpey has already submitted an application to the council to find out what the environmental constraints of the development are.

It is not a full planning application.

Lynn McIver, strategic projects manager for Taylor Wimpey, said: ‘We want to give members of the local community the opportunity to get involved and have 
their say on development plans.

She added: ‘We are confident that this scheme will provide an attractive and sustainable development of much-needed housing in the area, as well as delivering affordable housing for local people.’

The consultation is in Clanfield Memorial Hall, South Lane, on March 7, from 2pm to 7.30pm.