A PROPERTY deal in Fleet has relieved fears that a new town might be built not far away in Winchfield.
Hart District Council has signed an agreement with M&G Real Estate to redevelop the Pyestock area in Fleet. The project will create 1,500 new homes.
Campaigners in Winchfield have long feared the district council might choose their area for major development. And they put up fierce resistance.
But the new Pyestock deal reportedly brings the brownfield capacity for new homes in the district to around 4,000. That is well above the requirement of 2,500 homes.
It could now be possible to meet the demand for new housing entirely on brownfield land – without encroaching on greenfield sites.
Winchfield Parish Council chairman Andrew Renshaw said: “Irrespective of Pyestock, it is good news. However Winchfield new town will fail not because of Pyestock, but because it is not viable, it is not possible and it is not deliverable.”
It has been dubbed the final nail in the coffin of plans for a Winchfield new town. But Mr Renshaw added: “The final nail in the coffin will not come from Pyestock, it will come when planners put and end to the possibility.
“As well as flooding, we’ll see if any new residents would like living next to the motorway or the train station. And of course, how the roads would deal with 5,000 new residents. it won’t work.”
News of the Pyestock deal was announced on March 31. More good news for Winchfield followed the next day, with Hart District Council releasing an important brownfield study on April 1.
The strategic overview looks at the brownfield capacity in the district, and how it can be used to meet the area’s housing needs.
The pressure group We Heart Hart is hoping the two pieces of news mean there will be ‘sufficient capacity to meet housing needs on brownfield sites alone for decades to come’.
The new study uses examples of successes elsewhere to demonstrate that the new housing can be delivered at a density compatible with existing settlements.
Much like its partnership with four other councils earlier this year, Hart has enlisted the help of Eastleigh borough council. Its urban regeneration unit will lead the work.
The two other partners they have teamed up with are Hollis Hockley and Hurst Wane, consultancies which give commercial advice.
The initiative has been warmly welcomed by the activists at We Heart Hart, who say they will ‘work collaboratively’ and provide any assistance they can: “It shows that Hart is slowly accepting that there is much more brownfield capacity in the district than they previously thought.
“This should mean we can meet all of our remaining housing need from brownfield sites alone, so won’t need a new town, nor will we need any urban extensions. Hopefully, all of the campaign groups across the district can get behind this project.”