Update: South Downs and Central District Group

26th March 2020

News from the South Downs and Central District

We have long supported the new South Downs National Park Local Plan, which has now been adopted as the local plan for the whole national park with common policies applying the whole way from Winchester to Eastbourne. It is strong on protecting landscape, tranquillity, dark skies, wildlife and cultural heritage, and in providing affordable housing.

Our main focus recently has been on the Draft East Hampshire Local Plan, which plans ahead to 2036. We have made a detailed Response, giving our support where we can but forcefully seeking changes where we cannot.

To meet government mandated housing numbers a minimum of 10,456 dwellings has to be provided before 2036. This is equivalent to 508 dwellings a year from 2017 to 2028 and 608 dwellings a year from 2028 to 2036. A big increase over the past, and all to be accommodated in the area of the District outside the national park.

Two countryside sites, out of ten potential sites, are to be identified for at least 600 houses. We have assessed all 10 potential sites, supporting one at Whitehill Bordon where the infrastructure will be in place to support it, including a new town centre, but rejecting the four situated in open countryside along the A31 at Chawton Park, Alton, Neatham Down, Alton, Northbrook Park, Bentley and Winchester Road, Four Marks, as these are all within landscapes of such high quality, so-called “valued landscapes”, that planning rules provide should not be built on. East Hampshire District Council has told us in meeting that this work has prompted the Council to carry out their own landscape assessments of these areas, which is a good result.

We have submitted an initial statement to Veolia on the proposed Energy Recovery Facility between Alton and Bentley. We are concerned that this large plant may have serious adverse impact on local landscape character and views, including from the South Downs National Park, as well as adverse impacts on the River Wey and local roads.

Our annual quiz nights at Itchen Abbas and East Meon were as popular as ever. In fact, the Itchen Abbas evening exceeded previous years in number of tables taken which was very encouraging. The funds generated by these two quiz evenings generates much needed income so it will come as no surprise that we are repeating them again in 2020 on 23 October and 13 November respectively – please see the Events section of the website.

Please get in touch if you’d like to get involved with the group.

Christopher Napier
South Downs & Central District Group

East Meon, South Downs National Park
East Meon, South Downs National Park
Children climbing in the New Forest