East Hampshire district councillor Adam Carew is stepping up the campaign to stop Hampshire County Council building 200 homes on Standford Grange Farm.
Cllr Carew, who once sat on the county council, said: “There must be no housing on Standford Grange Farm, and it should also be a no to the Deadwater Valley Local Nature Reserve becoming a Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANGS).”
The Whitehill wildlife conservationist and historian added: “At present we have a planning application in to turn the fields at Standford Grange Farm into a SANGS so the developer Miller Homes, and the county council which sold the old Mill Chase site, can build homes on that site.
“But we already know, from East Hampshire District Council’s call for sites as the local planning authority, that the county council would really like to build homes on the county council-owned Standford Grange Farm too, in order to generate capital receipts.
“As a county councillor I asked in public if there were plans to build houses on this site, and was told by then leader Ken Thornber there were no plans whatsoever.
“I had similar assurances from his successors, only to find officers were looking into doing exactly that.”
Cllr Carew feared for the future of the farm if part of it was given up for a SANGS.
He said: “Having spoken to local farmers and a former farm wildlife adviser, I do not believe the county council’s contention that the use of Standford Grange Farm as a SANGS will not affect its economic viability.
“Yet it was always obvious that Natural England would insist on a SANGS being created there if the former Mill Chase playing fields were given permission for housing.
“The fact that the county council want a SANGS there, and a crossing at the top of the Pinch – the footpath that runs down the back of the recreation ground – without a proper crossing or reducing the speed in Hollywater Road from 40mph is absurd, especially when their own studies show many cars use this country lane as a rat run, doing well in excess of 40mph.”
Cllr Carew feared SANGS users would use the Whitehill Cemetery car park and Eveley Wood could be part of a SANGS if the county council sold the rest of the farm for housing.
He said a plan to make Standford Grange Farm a working farm specialising in farm wildlife and rare breeds that people could visit to learn about food and farming was “eminently better” than building on it.
He added: “There must be no use of the Deadwater Valley Local Nature Reserve as a SANGS, and no use of Standford Grange Farm for housing.
“It’s about time those in power at all levels sat up and did something about it.”