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Future of Hampshire town being drawn up
9:31am Tuesday 5th February 2013 in News
ALRESFORD civic chiefs have started to again draw up ways the town can develop over the next 20 years.
It follows public anger over proposals by town councillors that would see industry and Perins school relocate to farmland off Sun Lane to the east of the market town.
Two public meeting in the last nine months have each attracted largely hostile audiences of around 200 people.
The council held a special meeting last night to relaunch the problem-solving of finding space for 500 homes up to 2031.
Robin Atkins, a former town councillor, said: "It's important this council works with the public. They need to demonstrate there is no done deal, unless there is a done deal, in which case you need to tell us."
Cllr Roy Gentry, generally seen as the driver for the plan to develop off Sun Lane, said that by drawing up the controversial plan last year "was to get ahead of the game. We have apologised for doing that in a ham-fisted way. We failed and we failed spectacularly to be quite honest. We have not been dishonest; we have been ham-fisted.
"I can understand why people might think it is a done deal. I don't think anybody on the town council thinks it is a done deal."
Cllr Natalie Carpenter said: "We need to start again with a simple questionnaire and a needs plan. We need to consult with every resident in some way or other. People have to remember this council is local people. We are on a learning curve. Some people did something ill-advised but we are trying to work together."
Local farmer Toby Coles said any development off Sun Lane needed a better access than the one previously suggested off the dangerous A31 bypass. He said it would be preferable to have access off the B3047 Bishop's Sutton Road. It would resolve traffic problems on congested Sun Lane, added Mr Coles.
Chairman Lisa Griffiths confirmed that John Cattle had stood down for three months. Mr Cattle declined to discuss the reasons with the Daily Echo, saying they were personal.
The town council agreed a resolution for each councillor to be responsible for one aspect of input into Winchester City Council's local plan.
Simon Evans, employment; Jonathon Read, Open Spaces; Margot Power, infrastructure and liaison with the city council; Lisa Griffiths, housing; Stuart McCulloch, communication; Barbara Jeffs, advice to all groups; Roy Gentry, updating website; Natalie Carpenter, responsible for drawing together all elemtns for town council meeting in May.