Tough decisions as more homes on cards for villages

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THE controversial question of how many homes should be built in semi-rural villages is reaching judgment day.

Hundreds of new homes are earmarked for greenfield sites in and around Horndean, Clanfield, and Rowlands Castle – and the housing targets could potentially go up.

It comes as East Hampshire District Council is currently rewriting its Joint Core Strategy – a planning blueprint until 2028 – with the South Downs National Park Authority.

Last year the authorities said they wanted to provide 9,720 homes over the next 15 years.

But government inspector Anthony Thickett indicated that more homes will need to be provided.

Areas south of Butser are currently allocated 1,320 new homes.

But these numbers could go up and a meeting will take place on July 30 for the council to lay out its housing plans.

People in Clanfield are already raising eyebrows as Down Farm, near the A3, has been earmarked for 195 homes.

More than 200 residents have written to the council warning against over-expansion of the village. Council officials have stressed no final decisions have been made.

Other key sites earmarked for houses are Woodcroft Farm, in Lovedean, Pyle Farm, Hazleton Farm, White Dirt Farm, in Horndean, and Little Leigh Farm, near Rowlands Castle.

Horndean Councillor Guy Shepherd said it was crucial that residents attend the meeting.

He said: ‘We have built just 20 homes a year for the last 10 years and have not met our own housing needs with no suitable properties for our children to buy and stay in our community, or for the elderly to downsize into more suitable accommodation. Our population has grown and we have not met this need.

‘At the same time, we are fiercely defensive of our semi-rural status and wish to remain separate villages with separate identities, so the challenge will be to get the right housing in the right place with the right community facilities.’

The meeting starts at 6.30pm at Horndean Technology College.