Update on proposed Chawton Park Farm development
In June, as you no doubt know, East Hants District Council (EHDC) made a shock announcement that Chawton Park Farm had been chosen as a large development site for 1,200 homes as part of the new EHDC Local Plan. This site first appeared on the radar in the EHDC land availability assessment of 2018 which noted that a large part of the site was undevelopable with significant viability issues for the rest of the site. Common sense won over in 2020 and the site was discarded as an option from the draft local plan in favour of a “broad area of search for the [required] additional homes along the A31” and extra development at Bordon. However, in June this year Chawton Parish Council were given less that 24hrs notice to attend an emergency meeting with EHDC (with no agenda provided) where we were informed that Chawton Park Farm would be the preferred development site; a few hours later it was announced publicly.
We are not sure how a site, a large part of which having been identified as undevelopable by EHDC themselves, which was recently excluded as a realistic site has suddenly become one of the “most sustainable areas” in the words of Cllr Glass of EHDC. Chawton Parish Council are extremely disappointed by the confused decision making, apparent inconsistency of approach to prospective sites and lack of engagement by EHDC.
The Chawton Park Farm site is perhaps the least sustainable EHDC could have chosen for a new ‘Garden Village’. The location is in a beautiful valley of productive farmland nestled between important ancient woodland. Access is already very poor via a single lane railway arch and the hazards and traffic of the narrow Chawton Park Road, soon to be exacerbated with the Ackender Hill development. The core of the site is 3.8km from Alton town centre, meaning primarily car-based journeys with little or no footpaths and cycleways. This is not a sustainable site. Additionally, the development would require a new primary school (as is planned) and probably a new secondary school to cope with demand. The western part of Alton, where the development is proposed, already has the most housing allocation of any area in East Hampshire outside Bordon.
If the development proceeds the impact on the parish and our parishioners will be very considerable. Parishioners, particularly the residents living adjacent to the development, will face huge disruption during the many years of the construction phase and the prospect of being consumed into a 1,200-house development. The proposed development would see the destruction of historic farmland to become a suburb of Alton covered with acres of housing. These changes will fundamentally alter the character of the parish and have a very detrimental impact on the village.
Chawton Parish Council are wholly opposed to the proposed development at Chawton Park Farm and will be working with other local and national organisations to object to it in the strongest of terms.
Chawton Parish Council