Residents of Medstead and Four Marks are campaigning to prevent their villages being chosen as the location for 1,300 homes to meet East Hampshire District Council’s government housing target.
East Hampshire must allocate land for these houses in its new Local Plan – and following the council’s U-turn on making Chawton Park Farm its ‘preferred’ site, Medstead and Four Marks are among several places which will be under consideration when the council consults the public again next month.
So far more than 1,100 people have signed a petition against building “enormous urban-style housing estates” in the villages launched last week by the action group Stand with Medstead Against Speculative Housing.
Steve Adams, who chairs the group, said: “Local residents in the southern part of Medstead are campaigning hard to save their rural village from the possibility of one or even two huge housing estates being built there on open green fields, which would totally overwhelm their village and change its rural character forever.
“We all understand the need to build new houses but the sheer quantity being proposed, possibly 1,300, in these two villages with limited facilities – and which have already been the site of approximately 600 new homes in the past nine years, including at least 170 affordable properties – is unsustainable, overwhelming and downright unfair.”
For two years there were more houses built in Medstead – 133 in 2017 and 151 in 2018 – than the annual number allocated to the South Downs National Park area in East Hampshire, which covers 57 per cent of the district.
Mr Adams added: “Both Medstead and Four Marks are very car-dependent villages. Building this number of houses will introduce around 2,000 to 3,000 more vehicles on the country roads, many of which in Medstead don’t even have pavements.
“As there is only one limited bus service available, it is inevitable all these new residents will use their cars to drive to Alton, six miles away, and beyond when they need to do their weekly shop, go to the railway station, the library, the secondary school, the sports centre, the sixth form college, the banks, the swimming pool and maybe their place of employment too.”
Anyone wishing to sign Stand with Medstead Against Speculative Housing’s petition should visit www.smashonline.co.uk