CAMPAIGNERS are fighting to save surviving remnants of a village’s history.
Residents have launched a bid to save flint farm buildings at Down Farm in Clanfield, which is soon to become a new 207-home estate.
East Hampshire District Council agreed that the old buildings – which are not listed – could be demolished when the plans were approved in December.
But residents are pleading with developers to think again.
The village has changed out of sight because of major housing development and the barns are a visible link to the village’s past.
Brian Ahern, a trustee of Clanfield Parish Institute and a parish councillor, has been checking Ordnance Survey maps as far back as the 1860s, which show barn type buildings in the field close to the junction of Green Lane and Chalton Lane and opposite the ancient Thieves Lane – so-called after the ‘footpads’ that were active on the London to Portsmouth road.
Mr Ahern said: ‘Parts of these buildings are clearly very old and have inevitably suffered from ugly and poor quality additions and modifications over subsequent years.
‘These latter additions could be removed, leaving the original parts of traditional flint type construction typical of the era.
‘We believe that it must be possible to save them and put them to good use, possibly as a village museum or information office for such as the South Downs National Park, Campaign to Protect Rural England or parish council.
‘We can and should save them and intend to raise the issue at the next parish council meeting in the hope that a village volunteer group could be formed.
‘Such a scheme would provide an acceptable and attractive entrance to the new development.’
Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery said: ‘This seems an excellent way to link the future of Clanfield to its history and I am happy to support the campaign.’
Clanfield Councillor Ken Moon added: ‘These ideas would marry the past with the present and I commend the project.’
The developers are Barratt/David Wilson Homes. Their agent, Ian Johnson, told The News: ‘The planning permission that was granted did not have any provision to save the barns. As far as the applicant are concerned, they are employing the conditions of the planning consent.’