CAMPAIGNERS are again preparing to do battle over the site of a proposed new town north of Winchester.

Landowners near Micheldever are proposing a 6,000-home new town near Micheldever Station, nearly 30 years after the site was first proposed.

The family of John Magnier, the Irish bloodstock multi-millionaire, has suggested the potential of the site to the city council as it conducts a review of its Local Plan.

The Magniers bought the Sutton Scotney Estate a couple of years ago for a reported £45 million from Zurich Insurance.

Local people say they will fight any fresh proposals. Since 1990 they have defeated numerous attempts to have the land earmarked for a new town of up to 12,500 houses.

The proposed site this time is smaller, lying south of Black Wood, east of the mainline railway and west of the A33.

Tessa Robertson, chairman of the Dever Society, formed to fight the 1990 scheme, said information was sketchy but they were seeking more information from the city council.

“All we have had is confirmation from the city council strategic planning team that a proposal has gone into them. We know nothing more.

“It is a very large scheme. Development has been proposed since 1990. We have fought it. The whole area is opposed to it.

“It is the wrong kind of housing in the wrong place. Since 1990 we have been fortunate to have the support of Winchester City Council.”

William Helen, the chairman of Micheldever Parish Council, said: “This is a substantial development in an area which should not be developed. We have always been opposed to it. Developing here would be providing homes for people from London. Development in Hampshire should be further to the south.”

The parish council will meet next week although there is currently nothing formal to discuss.

Tenant farmer Douglas Paterson, former chairman of the Dever Society, said: “I think and hope it’s mainly a case of the Magniers trying to keep their hope-value alive rather than a realistic bid for a massive development. It has arisen as a last minute response to the Council’s ‘call for sites’, in which they invite proposals to come forward before producing a long-term plan.

“Again, I hope the same arguments will kick it into the long grass, ie. it would be a move towards a conurbation from Basingstoke to Southampton which would destroy the heart of Hampshire, and the city council has plenty of better sites in consideration already. On the other hand, the politics of housing is subject to change, so we have to be prepared to fight.”

A city council spokesman said: “Earlier this year the council issued a call for sites to scope all potential land to be considered for development through the Local Plan process.

“Over 200 sites were submitted and they are currently being evaluated as part of this process as the council rolls forward its Local Plan to 2036.

“The council intends to publish the Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) by the end of the year, which will list all of the sites submitted for consideration.”

Savills, the agents for the Magniers, were unavailable for comment.