Local people will get the chance to join the fight against a new town in the Hampshire countryside at a public meeting to be held at Micheldever Station next week2.
“Eagle Star has re-heated its discredited proposals to build a major new settlement at Micheldever Station Market Town3,” says the Dever Society’s vice-chairman Tessa Robertson. “This is a cynical attempt to win support from the Government’s eco-towns initiative4.
“The plain fact is that Micheldever Station is simply the wrong place for a new town. That was spelt out very clearly just four months ago by the independent inspectors who reviewed the draft South East Plan5.”
Local politicians have been quick to pour scorn on Eagle Star’s proposals. Winchester’s MP Mark Oaten told the Dever Society that he’s extremely concerned at the Government’s ‘fast track’ approach on eco-town developments. He has already issued his own press release6, and will be tabling a series of written Parliamentary Questions.
Winchester City Council leader, Cllr George Beckett, has expressed ‘astonishment’ at this latest application7, stressing that the City Council’s emerging Local Development Framework (LDF) already provides for adequate new housing without building at Micheldever Station.
Meanwhile Steve Brine, Winchester’s prospective Conservative MP, has pledged his support for ‘any action that prevents the building of a new town on this important greenfield site8’.
“We think it’s important to give Hampshire’s residents a voice of their own,” says Tessa Robertson. “We’ve already launched a brand new website at www.deversociety.org with full details of our campaign. This public meeting will be an opportunity for people to hear what we know about Eagle Star’s plans, and to tell us what they think of them.”
More follows …
Notes for Editors
- The Dever Society is an amenity society for the Hampshire Downs and the Dever Valley, and is a registered charity affiliated to the Civic Trust. The Society’s principal objective is to conserve, protect and celebrate Hampshire’s rural heartland.
The Society has a membership of almost 7,000, drawn from a wide area of Hampshire and elsewhere in Britain. For more details, visit www.deversociety.org
- The meeting will be held in the Warren Hall, Micheldever Station at 7:30pm on Tuesday 11th December 2007. Entrance to the hall is opposite the Dove Inn, just across the road from the railway station itself.
Members of the press are warmly invited to attend – for more details or queries, please visit www.deversociety.org or e-mail email@example.com
- Eagle Star first launched its scheme for a new ‘Micheldever Station Market Town’ in 1990. Its original proposal was for a 5,000 dwelling town with its centre at Micheldever Station, between Winchester and Basingstoke, housing around 12,500 people. Since then its plans have grown steadily, and the current proposal stands at 12,500 homes, with a population approaching 30,000. By comparison, the population of Winchester city is around 42,000.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of Eagle Star’s proposals.
- Eco-towns will be small new towns of at least 5,000-20,000 homes. They are intended to exploit the potential for complete new ‘zero-carbon’ developments – and, where opportunities exist, schemes should make use of suitable surplus public sector or brownfield land.
The Government’s eco-towns prospectus, published in July 2007, can be downloaded from http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/ecotownsprospectus
- The South East Plan will provide the blueprint for development in the south east region for the period 2006 to 2026. An Examination in Public into the draft Plan was carried out by a panel of inspectors earlier this year, and their report was published on 29 August 2007.
For more details, visit www.southeast-ra.gov.uk/southeastplan/
- Mark Oaten’s press release is at www.markoaten.com/markinwinchester/28/index.phtml
- Winchester City Council’s press release is at www.winchester.gov.uk/news/NewsArticle.asp?id=SX9452-A783A6A1
- teve Brine’s press release is at www.stevebrine.com/files/pdf_pdf_48.pdf
The Dever Society: 01962 774040
Tessa Robertson: 01962 774690
Mobile: 07714 759517