PLANS to build 3,000 homes on a Hampshire airfield have renewed fears of a possible new town at nearby Micheldever Station. 

The land at Popham Airfield has been earmarked for development in the latest draft of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's local plan.

The Dever Society, opponents of a new town for 30 years, is urging people to object to Popham Airfield being part of the local plan, by the deadline of March 4.

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Tessa Robertson, chair of The Dever Society, said: “We are very concerned that Basingstoke Council is promoting a so-called ‘garden village’ of 3,000 homes on Popham Airfield without seeking the views of the residents in Winchester district just over the boundary who live closest and would be impacted the most.

"Basingstoke’s plans for massive development in the southwest of the borough includes not just Popham but 7,500 houses at ‘Southern Manydown’ just to the east of North Waltham. The urban sprawl this would cause not only means the loss of thousands of acres of greenfields, but threatens the important ‘green gap’ between Winchester and Basingstoke.

"The Popham plan also involves dismantling a thriving community associated with the airfield, destroying both livelihoods and a locally supported amenity. Basingstoke council needs to go back to the drawing board.”

In an email to Dever Society members, it said: “This would have major impacts on our area and is only a stone’s throw from the boundary with the Winchester district. We believe it could also make a new town at Micheldever more likely.

Hampshire Chronicle: Basingstoke local plan

“It would increase the pressure for a new town at Micheldever Station. The development at Popham is too small to make the schools, alterations to roads (including expensive changes to the A303) and other infrastructure financially viable for a developer. But by joining with the developer of the new town, infrastructure costs could be shared.”

City councillor Stephen Godfrey, a Conservative who represents Wonston and Micheldever, is due to ask civic chiefs about the authority's response, at the full council meeting on Thursday, February 22. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Popham Airfield

He said: “I oppose unnecessary development in the countryside on principle, as we must protect our downlands and the beautiful natural character that so many of us value. Any significant development at Popham will destroy so many habitats and so much ecology and completely change the character of this prominent rural area. The site is remote from almost all amenities and infrastructure that will need to be provided just for this new town. There is no local water supply and very limited waste water treatment capacity. 

“Much of this infrastructure, including major improvements to the junction on the A303 dual carriageway, the enhancement of the train station at Micheldever and the roads and paths to the station, will need to be within my ward in Winchester District. There has been no discussion by Basingstoke about using land in Winchester to enable this proposed development, which is a very strange approach to take.

“I am opposed to the development at Popham Airfield, even if these extra homes were really needed to meet local demand. There are brownfield sites within the Basingstoke District that would be far more suitable to meet a local need, including at Whitchurch, Overton and Basingstoke itself.  

“I encourage all residents to send their comments on this  proposal to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council by March 4 using this link -”