VILLAGERS are fighting against the government to stop plans for more housing development.
People living in Clanfield, Horndean and Rowlands Castle are worried after East Hampshire District Council has been told it must find more land for new homes.
Residents say the southern parishes have already had their fair share of housing – and are calling for more development to take place further north in the South Downs National Park to even the balance. It comes as the council has submitted its core strategy – a planning blueprint for the next two decades – to the government.
The council said it wanted to provide 9,720 homes between now and 2026.
But government inspector Anthony Thickett has indicated that more homes will need to be provided as ministers want more housebuilding to stimulate the economy.
Areas south of Butser are currently allocated 1,320 new homes, the Petersfield area in the national park has been allocated 4,400, while 4,000 homes are allocated for Whitehill Bordon.
Residents are worried these figures could now go up – with the extra housing being pushed outside the national park, where planning rules are more stringent.
Earlier this year the South Downs National Park Authority – which helped to draw up the core strategy – refused 213 homes at Causeway Farm, south of Petersfield, over concerns on the impact on landscape and lack of infrastructure.
Meanwhile, a similar-sized development nearby on the other side of the park boundary – 275 homes at Green Lane, Clanfield, pictured – was approved by East Hampshire District Council.
Resident Dave Woods, 47, of Drift Road, Clanfield, said: ‘By pushing the homes into traditional places like Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle, they have not got the infrastructure to take them.’
Clanfield resident John Vincent, 68, of Oak Road, agreed affordable homes were needed for young people, but added: ‘It’s no good putting houses in Clanfield if there isn’t the transport infrastructure to support it.’
Marge Harvey, councillor for Rowlands Castle, said: ‘I think that the extra housing should come from the South Downs National Park – I really do.’
‘I think our officers have to work with the South Downs National Park and make them understand they do have to take some housing.
‘I think we have taken more than our fair share. Before long our rural village is going to become urban sprawl.’
A statement from East Hampshire said: ‘The council is currently considering the inspector’s letter on the joint core strategy.
‘While the inspector has confirmed much of our approach, it is clear very recent changes in government policy require us to revisit some aspects, including the likelihood of having to provide more housing.’
Council officials said they will be negotiating with the National Park Authority on how the strategy can be taken forward. The issue will be discussed at the full National Park Authority meeting on December 11.