Alresford civic chiefs split over consultations for town plan

7:00am Monday 21st January 2013

By Andrew Napier

ALRESFORD town councillors are divided over how it is approaching the controversial town plan which is set to see 500 homes earmarked for the area over the next 20 years.

Two councillors expressed their unhappiness after the town council meeting on Thursday.

A public meeting this Wednesday (JAN 23) is due to hear that latest on how the town could evolve up to 2031. A public meeting last May heard much criticism of the council's proposals for the relocation of industry and Perins School to farmland off Sun Lane.

This time no proposals are being put forward and senior Winchester city council planner Steve Opacic will address the meeting about the need to earmark land for 500 homes.

Cllrs Barbara Jeffs and Natalie Carpenter say there has not been enough discussion amongst councillors about the crucial procedure that will affect the town over the next 20 years.

Ms Carpenter said a questionnaire was put on the council website without council members being consulted.

Mrs Jeffs said: "Previously questionnaires had been put through doors. But this is much more important. We should still be asking the public what they want."

Ms Carpenter said: "It has given the impression this is a council decision and that we are all in agreement and that it is a done deal."

Cllr Roy Gentry who is involved with the working party said it was "empowered to seek the view of the town and residents to understand the facts and seek opinions in order to put a town plan together to bring back to full council."

But he conceded it has been "lax" in reporting back to the council regarding the consultations.

Other proposals have been put foward. One alternative is for housing to go on field between New Farm Road and the River Itchen.

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