How long will we be on the edge of town?
Looking at recent planning news, it has occurred to me that the days when Hatch Warren and Beggarwood are on the edge of the town, with easy access to the surrounding countryside, may well be numbered.
Although the M3 has always been regarded as the extent of development, Lord Portsmouth has already had the anaerobic digester built, and plans an enormous solar panel farm, both of which “industrialise” the countryside across the M3, and have material traffic impacts on Hatch Warren, although technically they’re in “Farleigh Wallop”. What else does he plan for “Farleigh Wallop” that WON’T affect Farleigh but WILL affect us?
The Local Plan is to go to a Government Inspector to consider, but the need for housing as the population remorselessly increases WILL force development of greenfield sites, and there is huge pressure for these to include the southern part of Manydown, the golf course, and the land on the other side of the A30 from Beggarwood, between Old Down and junction 7.
Now there’s news that there are to be two major developments in North Waltham, a new Borough cemetery, and a Critical Treatment Hospital with cancer treatment centre, both of which will have traffic impacts on this area, although obviously the hospital will be the enormous one; this alone is planned to have 866 car parking spaces for staff and visitors. These two developments will increase pressure for a western access road between junction 7 and the A339, which will destroy most of the planned “green gap” between Kempshott and Oakley, and which the Borough Council has revealed may well also destroy Old Down. Oh, and please note that the hospital being in “North Waltham” is as true as the anaerobic digester being in Farleigh Wallop – the planned site is “west of Gandersdown Copse”, so is actually between the traffic lights on the A30 and Dummer Garden Centre – so nearer to us than to North Waltham!
Any of these proposals, singly, can be argued as beneficial and/or necessary; however, once one gets permission, then permission for the next, and then the next, and the next, becomes easier, as the urban area creeps ever outwards. And still there are no real answers to the questions the South West Action Group have already raised about infrastructure – including schools, transport and sewerage.
Whatever efforts our Councillors make to try to ensure the infrastructure issues are addressed, other Councillors from other areas will be desperately trying to ensure that almost all development in the Borough is targetted almost exclusively on Manydown and as a knock-on to the south-west of the Borough.
I don’t have answers, but I find that when I talk to people in this area many of them aren’t aware of the possible scale of development over the next few years, and how it’ll impact them, and their children, so I hope the above is informative; maybe there IS somebody out there with answers?