COUNCILLORS have voted to endorse plans for nearly 400 homes on the edge of Alresford, and work with a community group to develop an alternative option.

At last night’s (July 29) town council meeting, five voted in support of controversial plans which would see homes built to the east of the town, on land off Sun Lane.

Barbara Jeffs voted against the endorsement, and Jonathon Read abstained.

As part of Winchester City Council’s Local Plan Part One, Alresford is required to build 500 homes with 386 yet to be allocated.

During public participation Jeremy Collins, a property surveyor and property director at John Lewis nationwide, of Bishop’s Sutton, offered to work with the council to develop alternative plans, for free.

He said: “I represent a group of professional people. Having heard everything that’s been said by other members of the community, we believe passionately that Alresford requires a sustainable plan to be produced which will enable development to be built that respects the grain of the town.

“We are willing to provide our services to work with the town council and local community.”

Councillors agreed to work with them.

Roy Gentry said: “I propose that town councillors work with the local community group supported by relevant professionals to establish an alternative draft plan that, if it’s considered viable, is submitted to Winchester City Council no later than January 2015.”

The move was unanimously approved, and chair, Lisa Griffiths, said it is necessary to satisfy more residents.

“I hope that they feel better about this now that we are doing the right thing,” she said.

“There is a lot of support for the Sun Lane site but there is also a great deal against it. So this group that have come forward and said they can create an alternative that will satisfy more residents, we have to take that opportunity.

“I know it’s going round the houses again but we need to do that to satisfy more people.”

Councillors feared that rejecting to support the proposal would result in the city council enforcing a plan on the town.

On Monday (July 28) Mrs Griffiths said: “We don’t see that there is a better solution [to Sun Lane]. The feedback that we have everybody is very reluctant and nobody wants to do it, but it has to go somewhere and we don’t have an alternative that we feel is better.”

Mr Collins said the community group would like to set up consultations in September, and then work with the council to agree a work programme.