ALRESFORD civic chiefs are to hold a two-day public exhibition on new ideas for how the town can develop over the next 20 years.

It follows the public meeting on May 27 at Perins School, when 500 people voiced opposition to plans which would see major development on farmland off Sun Lane.

Town councillors agreed to do a U-turn on their support for the Sun Lane plans for 300 homes, a new light industry estate, gypsy pitch, open space and burial ground.

The council has looked at ways to meet the housing requirement for Alresford and will have an exhibition of an alternative option in the Community Centre on June 27-28.

In a statement, the council said taking such a step after a public consultation had already taken place was highly unusual, but due to the strength of feeling, it wanted to hear comments to support discussions with Winchester City Council prior to the draft district plan being published.

The alternative scheme would spread development to the west of New Farm Road and north of The Avenue, but may not be able to provide a new site for business use.

This would mean employment growth would have to be through intensification of existing sites, with The Dean no longer available to provide housing for the elderly.

The alternative option has a reduced amount of open space and no provision for a new burial site. To meet the statutory Local Plan requirement, about 150 houses may still be needed on Sun Lane.

The rest of the site would remain as farmland and there would be no new junction to the A31.