SOUTHAMPTON should stop expanding outwards. That is the view of county council leader Roy Perry, who wants to see a green belt retained around Southampton rather than filling in gaps with developments.

As reported in the Daily Echo, developers Commercial Estates Group wants to build 350 homes at Parkers Farm off Rownhams Lane, Rownhams, part of Cllr Perry’s ward. Although the development is on the edge of the city, the decision on planning permission will be made by Test Valley Borough Council.

But Cllr Perry said: “My instincts are that we need to maintain the green belt around Southampton and retain the rural character of Nursling and Rownhams, which is a very attractive village. It is important that Southampton prospers, but it should prosper by regenerating inside the city rather than its boundaries growing outwards.”

Cllr Perry said he had spoken to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, about green belts and that a working party was being set up to look into the issue.

He added he had not seen the details of the plan and had not been approached by any residents about the development.

But others have backed the plans as a good opportunity for the village.

Elaine Evans, manager of St John’s Nursing Home, which is near Parkers Farm, said the development could benefit the village. She said: “I’ve spoken to the owner about this and he is not bothered. We don’t think it will be particularly detrimental to the village and we hear there will be an elderly care development alongside it which may help us.

“It will bring more business into the village and that can only be a good thing.”

CEG say the scheme would help meet housing need, provide Extra Care homes for the elderly and land for a school.

A public exhibition of the plans is on show at Nursling and Rownhams Community Centre in Horns Drove on Monday from 4pm to 8pm.