Regarding the proposal by EHDC to build over 1,250 houses on 240 acres of pasture land: despite its pretty name, ‘Neatham Down’ is, in effect, ‘Neatham Town’ and must not be allowed.

Already the overstretched infrastructure of Alton cannot take it, never mind the destruction of beautiful countryside. How can this even be tabled? 

For a start, it’s on the wrong side of a busy ‘A’ road to Alton; then there are the vital biodiversity issues, all of which are threatened by such an oversize development. 

A proposal to build 600 house on the same ‘site’ was rejected in 2019, so how come this new bigger proposal has slipped through? EHDC has a moral responsibility to remove this wholly inappropriate plan. (Objections to:

Mike Stephenson


Thank you for publishing the article in last week’s Alton Herald about the proposal to build 1,000 houses on Neatham Down, a beautiful green field site just outside Alton on the south side of the A31.

The picture which accompanies the proposal on the EHDC Local Plan underlines the fact that it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but that is just one of the reasons why everyone, but particularly Altonians, should be loud in their resistance to this appalling idea.

Neatham Down is in the Parish of Binsted and I understand Binsted Parish Council will be fighting its inclusion as a large site for development, but it is Alton and Holybourne which will feel the burden of such a large development on their doorstep.

A thousand houses can be expected to generate around 2,000 cars. While some of these will drive along the A31 to Farnham or Winchester there will probably be about 1,000 a day driving in and out of Alton. The proposal suggests the necessary infrastructure for the new development will include a primary school and shops. 

It will not include secondary schools or a Further Education establishment.

A thousand houses will not attract a supermarket, churches, a library or any banks. It will not be on a railway line. All these facilities will have to be accessed in Alton via Montecchio Way.

Constructors are well known for not putting the required infrastructure into their developments until all the houses are built and not actually putting in all the infrastructure to which they have agreed. 

In this case the Constructors Infrastructure Levy (CIL) money will be held in the development, not passed to any of the Councils involved as would normally be the case. 

This means that there would be no money passed to Alton to help with all the extra pressure on the current infrastructure. The two Alton medical practices are already overstretched since taking on most of the Bentley patients. Will there be a new medical practice for Neatham Down?

As one who moved to Alton before the A31 Alton Bypass was built, I know it has always been considered that the road would be the boundary to development on the south side of Alton. Breaching this boundary could be a precedent to further development eventually going all the way to East Worldham.

I am told that these 1,000 houses were destined for a brown field site in Bordon prior to the last EHDC council elections. Is it merely a coincidence that this change of heart happened after the EHDC Tories set up an agreement with Bordon and Whitehill Residents in order to maintain their power base? 

Is Alton having to pay the price for this? Is the saying “Why do we bother about Alton? We don’t get any votes from there”, once again rife in Petersfield? I do hope Alton’s current EHDC councillors are going to show some leadership in this instance. They are remarkably quiet these days.

It is up to all of us who value what we have here in Alton and Holybourne to let those who are putting together the East Hampshire Local Plan know how we feel before the consultation closes on March 4.

Pat Lerew

Complins, Holybourne

We only have until Monday to comment on East Hampshire District Council’s Draft Local Plan which will, as it stands, mean Alton getting an astonishingly unfair share of the new housing that the Government requires for the area.

In spite of being the largest settlement in the District, not to mention its richest in culture and history, Alton currently has no representation on the EHDC ‘Cabinet’ that makes the key decisions for us in Petersfield. 

It is doubly important that we help the members of this body to see Alton’s point of view because Petersfield, in common with areas many of these councillors represent, is largely exempt from the development allocations on account of being in the South Downs National Park.

We’ve simply got to make our voices heard!

The consultation document on the EHDC website is painstakingly and indeed beautifully presented, but is dauntingly complex, and I for one have been putting off trying to grapple with it. But I have at last done so and I do most sincerely urge others who have not done so yet to make the effort and at least register some sort of objection before it’s too late.

I have found the material on the Alton Town Council website invaluable in helping me to understand what is at stake. This is a link – which I have abbreviated for ease of typing – to the ATC’s full response document:

The key point seems to be that, whereas until now Alton, Whitehill & Bordon and Liphook have been classed together in Tier 1 – as the most suitable places for future development – Alton has for the first time and without explanation been singled out to remain in Tier 1. The others have been demoted to Tier 2, leaving Alton to take the lion’s share of future expansion. 

This seems inexplicable after the massive infrastructure investment Bordon & Whitehill have enjoyed in recent years and the fact, for example, that Liphook has a better train service than Alton.

This link should take you straight to this section of the Draft Local Plan – S2 SETTLEMENT HIERARCHY – on the EHDC website. Scroll to page 43 to see the details and register your objection under S2.2 at the bottom of the page. Having confirmed your email address you don’t have to make comments anywhere else if you don’t want to.

Or you can simply email [email protected] and say that you wish to support Alton Town Council’s objections.

Whatever you do, please do it now. I have lived in Alton for 50 years, most of that time as a family doctor, few know it better than I do. It is far too precious a place to be despoiled in the way that is now threatened.

James Willis

Curtis Road, Alton