MORE than hundred people packed into a meeting to hear the latest about the threat of a new town at Micheldever Station.

It was standing room only as members and guests listened to Dever Society’s chairman Tessa Robertson, local ward councillor and leader of Winchester City Council Caroline Horrill and guest speaker and local resident James Landale, the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent.

The meeting was held at the Warren Centre at Micheldever Station on Tuesday evening for the Dever Society’s annual general meeting.

Ms Robertson outlined some of the threats facing the local community, with the large waste incinerator being promoted at Barton Stacey/Longparish a major concern.

But as it has for the last 30 years, the society’s work is dominated by the proposed 6,000-home new town at Micheldever, now being heavily promoted by the new landowner the Irish Magnier family and their developer partner the O’Flynn Group.

The society strongly supports appropriate development in the area, she said, particularly affordable housing for local people, but pointed out that there is a big difference between this, which still retains the area’s rural identity, and the large urban conurbation that the new town represents, which would overwhelm the local community.

She finished by saying how very sad she is that the community is back in this situation, and that the initial hopes that the Magnier family were genuinely interested in the land and the community as the original landowners, the Rank family had been, had sadly been proved wrong.

The society and its allies may have seen off the new town threat for nearly three decades, but the community cannot afford to be complacent.

Cllr Horrill focused on the progress of Winchester’s review of its Local Plan, saying that new calculations showed that an additional 1,100 new homes on top of the 12,500 currently planned for were likely to be needed across the District by 2036.

Finally, James Landale entertained the meeting with anecdotes and poems of his life as a political and diplomatic correspondent.