Back in 2012, Hart Council issues a press release explaining why it was not going to pursue a new town at Winchfield. Here’s what they said:
A whole set of fresh new studies would need to be commissioned, more land would need to be found, infrastructure needs would have to be assessed, the viability of delivering a new settlement would need to be tested, and above all, the public would have to change its previous views. A new settlement option would need to be supported by a significant groundswell of opinion…. the council believes that residents’ interests are best served by continuing with its current strategy of spreading growth across the district coupled with new and improved infrastructure targeted to serve local communities.
We have to ask what has changed since then?
We have not been told the results of the testing so far, except that infrastructure is going to cost a lot of money (our estimate ~£300m), much of the planned area is covered by SSSIs, SINCs and TPOs, quite a lot of the area is subject to ground water flooding and is close to the M3, which could be damaging to the health of any children living in the new settlement. We also know, a new town would open us up to 3,000 houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor.
There is certainly no groundswell of opinion in favour of a new town, other than a cabal of councillors intent on concreting over our green spaces.
So, why is this option even being presented in the forthcoming consultation? Please do get involved with this consultation and respond to it using our guide on our dedicated page about this consultation here.