Landowner puts plans on display for village centre

Campaigners holding information morning in Portsmouth on state pensions

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AMBITIOUS plans to transform a village into a thriving centre for the community have been rejected by residents.

Kevin Hoare, of River Rise Farm, Funtley, held a consultation last night at Funtley Social Club to gauge public opinion on his plans, which include building 75 homes.

Kevin Hoare

Kevin Hoare

Mr Hoare argues that by allowing the homes to be built on seven acres of his land, it would preserve the other 33 acres, which he would hand over for community use such as parks, allotments and a village centre.

Mr Hoare, 64, called for the community to support his plans.

Mr Hoare said: ‘People are surprised that it is down to them. Some think the facilities would be very useful.

‘I am very open-minded. This is to give Funtley real identity. It is a legacy for our children and grandchildren.’

He also warned that if the land were to fall into the hands of developers, they could cram in up to 400 homes.

Residents at the exhibition last night were not so keen.

David Watson, 67, of Stag Way, said: ‘If he really wants to preserve the land, why doesn’t he donate to a trust and say it can’t be developed?’

Carl Duke and partner Sarah Wood, 38, of Stag Way, were also against the plan.

Mr Duke, 32, said: ‘We moved here for the rural aspect and it is already being taken away.

‘The walkways are nice, if they were just that.’

Ro Petrazzini, from the Funtley Village Society, said the society welcomed Mr Hoare’s consultation but said villagers were fed up with housing development applications, especially as a new 6,000-home town Welborne is proposed nearby.

Ms Petrazzini added: ‘If it came to a straight choice between Welborne and these proposals, then residents would most likely prefer ad hoc piecemeal development rather than a new town the size of Petersfield.

‘It is highly unlikely that anyone, and that includes our committee, would want both, as our green fields are precious and cannot be replaced once they are concreted over.’

Not everyone was against the plans, Bert Pointer, 63, of Iron Mill Lane, said: ‘Everyone cries out that there are no houses for the youngsters, what are we going to do?

‘It should be built here and not on prime agricultural land, as here it is just clay.’

Mr Hoare said he would consider the comments from the consultation before deciding whether or not to submit a planning application.