“Potential adverse impact on the landscape of the Wey Valley and the setting of Alton have been identified in respect of the site at Neatham Down, whilst there are concerns that the A31 would hinder the integration of a new community with Alton.”

Who wrote that? Well, that appeared in an East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) briefing for a full council meeting on September 23, 2021.  And now, in the EHDC draft Local Plan, we find that Neatham Down is the preferred site for 1,000 houses! So what has changed to cause such an about turn in under three years?

Similarly, in the Settlement Hierarchy which guides development priorities, previous iterations have included Whitehill/Bordon and Liphook alongside Alton in the top tier. Now Alton stands alone in Tier 1. Again, one has to ask what has caused this change?

Could it possibly have anything to do with the “arrangement” made between the Whitehill & Bordon Community Party and the EHDC Conservatives in May 2023, whereby the former keeps the latter in power? Any such arrangements are pointless unless characterised by mutual support and recognition of the particular interests of the parties concerned.

One can only admire the success of the Whitehill & Bordon Community Party in achieving such great influence in the running of EHDC. Having a total focus on the welfare of the community, free from the ties of political party labels, has clearly resonated with their electorate.

Perhaps it is time for the formation of an Alton & Holybourne Community Party.

Bill Griffin

Shipley Close, Alton