Town status bid falls at the first hurdle

Care home plan set to be refused

Have your say

A BID to try to get Horndean officially recognised as a town rather than a village has failed.

Horndean Parish Council was considering whether it should try to become a town council because of the size of the area that it covers.

But a motion on whether to consult residents on the proposal was refused on a knife-edge vote, with six parish councillors voting against it and five for it.

Objectors said Horndean parish is made up of four villages – Horndean, Lovedean, Catherington and Blendworth – and they did not want to be part of a town.

Vice-chairman Guy Shepherd said: ‘It’s difficult to have a town with four villages.

‘There’s sections of the community, certainly in Catherington which I represent, which are very villagey in nature.

‘It’s important to protect that rural feel.

‘Quite frankly we do not want to be a Waterlooville or Havant with a swimming pool, gym and a B&Q. That’s not what Horndean is about.’

But supporters say the Horndean parish is the size of a town – with a population of 12,600 – and deserves to be regarded as one.

Petersfield, by comparison, has a population of 13,500 and has a town council.

Tracy Predeth, clerk of Horndean Parish Council, which manages 150 acres of open space and has 13 staff, said just changing the name would give the council more clout and give Horndean its own Town Mayor.

She said: ‘Some members want a greater voice. ‘There’s the big three – Petersfield, Whitehill and Alton town councils. Horndean is seen as the forgotten parish council – that’s how some residents have felt. It’s whether people would be prepared to change.’

Changing to town council would not give the council any more powers or a higher precept on the council tax of residents.