It was standing room only at the Warren Centre in Micheldever Station for the Dever Society meeting on the rehashed proposal for a 6,000 home new town at Micheldever. Over 200 people listened as Tessa Robertson, chairman of the Dever Society, outlined the little we know about the new scheme, which has been submitted to Winchester City Council as part of their Local Plan Review.
The proposal has been submitted by the Magnier family, the new owners of the 4,000 acre Sutton Scotney agricultural estate, and their partners, Irish property developers the O’Flynn Group. The proposal had come as a complete surprise to the local community, which had thought that when Zurich Assurance sold the estate in 2017, their nearly 30 years of promoting a major housing development in the area had finally come to an end
Winchester MP, Steve Brine, reminded the meeting that when we won the last big battle against the new town in 2007, he had been the parliamentary candidate. He had opposed the proposal then and opposed it now. ‘This time’, he said, ‘I’m angry. How many times do we have to say no?’.
Cllr Caroline Horrill, Winchester City ward councillor for the area and leader of the City Council, described the Local Plan review process, the blueprint for development across the whole of Winchester District. She explained that the review will extend the Plan to 2036 and said that their first projections indicated that about 1,000 or so additional homes across the District will be needed by 2036 on top of the 12,500 total that have already been planned for. Obviously 6,000 new homes is way in excess of this.
Tessa Robertson said that while the Dever Society hoped that the City Council would reject the proposal, they did not believe that the Magniers would accept this and go away, but would continue to promote the new town in every available forum, just as Zurich had. ‘We are up against some very powerful, wealthy and determined opponents,’ she said. ‘We need to be even more determined.’
The Dever Society would like to thank everyone who came to the meeting and for the many offers of help we have received. We’ve set up a special Facebook page www.facebook.com/notomicheldevernewtown with more information and links to recent media reports and Steve Brine MP’s video of the meeting. If you would like to be kept informed of developments, please sign up at our website www.deversociety.org.
Main photo © Steve Brine MP