Having been on the wrong end of decisions made by the City Council’s Planning Committee, of which I am a member, I can attest to its independence if not its ability to always make the right decision. When the Sun Lane application goes to committee in the next few weeks, it will endeavour to make the right decision. However, it will be saddled with the weight of the site being allocated in the Local Plan, so it will take considerable effort to persuade it that the proposal is fundamentally flawed. Protocol dictates that I have to stand down from the committee, but that leaves me free to explain why I feel so strongly that this scheme has the potential to be so damaging for Alresford.
There are two particular reasons why I have formed this view. The first is the obvious fact that Alresford will no longer enjoy the significant protection of a bypass, which was built in first place to provide protection from unwanted flows of traffic. The new access points on the A31 will break the back of the bypass, and create rat runs and general traffic hassle through many hitherto quiet residential streets. New flows will develop, with some seeing the proposal as a short cut onto the A31. The junction at East Street will be particularly awkward in any event. I’m also very concerned that the cost of substantial new roadworks will result in the affordable housing being unviable and that very much less than the due 40%, if any, will eventually be delivered. This has happened many times before. There are other reasons besides, and I am much persuaded by those who feel that the same volume of housing could be much more comfortably provided in several smaller sites scattered about the town.
Alresford is lucky to have many local residents who have carefully researched the details of the proposals, and who have objectively considered its impacts. But they need help and I would urge everyone to write to the Planning Committee (quoting ref: 17/01528/OUT) to help make sure that it does make the right decision and rejects the application.