More than 250 Four Marks and Medstead residents packed Four Marks Village Hall on October 8 to hear from their district and parish councillors on the potential to build 1,200 houses on two of four sites in their villages.

Councillors talked about East Hampshire District Council’s emerging Local Plan in a meeting led by Neighbourhood Plan steering group chair Nick Stenning.

The existing Local Plan envisaged the building of 175 houses in the villages by 2028 but already there have been nearly 600.

One resident said: “The prospect of another 1,200 would ruin the villages forever.” Others cited lack of infrastructure and reliance on cars as major problems.

East Hampshire’s Local Plan strategy of estates of more than 650 homes is complicated by 57 per cent of its land being inside the South Downs National Park – where building is restricted – meaning 82 per cent of its housing allocation must be crammed into the other 43 per cent,  creating pressure to build in the countryside.

The meeting was sponsored by residents groups Stand with Medstead Against Speculative Housing – SMASH – and Fight4FourMarks, which challenge planning applications, hold developers and the district council to account, keep residents informed and mobilise them into action.

Steve Adams of SMASH said: “It was clear from the outcome of this meeting that many residents have had enough.

“They believe Four Marks & Medstead have taken more than their fair share of the housing numbers over the past eight years and with very little improvement in facilities or infrastructure. Going forward, many believe only limited house building is required and should be focused on the local need only.”

All were asked to sign SMASH’s petition against big developments in the villages, which has 3,330 signatures, and tell councillors and MP Damian Hinds their concerns.

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