PLANS have been unveiled to build more than 1,000 new homes and a new school on land in Hampshire.

Within a decade the land on the southern edge of Eastleigh could be transformed into a new development containing 1,100 homes, shops, restaurants and a school.

But they have already proven controversial, with some saying the plans will add to the traffic chaos already endured by motorists in the area, and have hit out at plans to build over historic parkland and playing fields.

The land south of Chestnut Avenue has been earmarked as the site of a potential development for several years, and was included as a housing site in Eastleigh Borough Council’s last local plan.

Developer the Highwood Group jointly owns the 62 hectare site alongside the borough council and Hampshire County Council.

The firm has now unveiled its £70million blueprint for what the site could look like, and has held an exhibition to show residents its proposals.

Hundreds of residents turned out to have a look at what is proposed for their community – with over 150 people through the doors in the first hour.

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They were able to see images of how the area could be transformed and have their say with developers and council staff.

A mixture of about 1,100 new homes ranging from three-storey houses to flats will form the bulk of the new development, with some homes for elderly people and affordable housing.

A new complex built at the south-eastern corner of the site, opposite the Concorde Club, would contain a two-form primary school, a community centre, a care home and a local centre with shops, cafes, restaurants, a pharmacy and a day nursery.

The existing sports ground off Stoneham Way and AFC Stoneham’s clubhouse and pitches would all be built over, although the developer says green space in the middle and north of the site will remain.

To compensate for the loss of some sports space, there are plans to build a new clubhouse at the neighbouring Trojans Sports Centre and new pitches at the Hardmoor site next to the M27.

On Friday dozens of residents got their first glimpses of the plans at an exhibition at the Pavilion on the Park in Kingfisher Road.

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Consultation will end on November 7, and another exhibition is due to take place in December.

A planning application is then set to be submitted in January, and if that is approved work could begin by the end of next year.

The firm says about 250 construction jobs will be created while the site is developed.

Simon Beech, land and sales director from developers The Highwood Group, told the Daily Echo: “It is the natural extension to the existing local plan. I think it is going to improve the area. “The key thing is there are going to be a number of community benefits like the brand new sports facilities and the community building and retaining the historic Avenue Park.”

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Asked about the concerns over increased traffic, he added: “The work on the M27 at junction five is already making radical improvements and will continue to improve the traffic on the roads surrounding the site.”

However the plans have been criticised by some.

Fiona Mapleson, a member of the Save Stoneham Park group, said she is concerned about the loss of historic parkland, which was once a medieval deer park, and the impact on wildlife and traffic.

She said: “The council haven’t listened at all, they don’t listen.

“The traffic congestion around here is ridiculous.

“We’re not going to be able to drive our cars anymore.”

And Cllr Godfrey Olson, leader of the council’s Conservative opposition, said: “I am concerned with the development because its proposals are, I believe, excessive and will bridge the gap between Eastleigh and Southampton, and I know local people are very concerned about taking away a very pleasant amenity.”

Geoff Smith, secretary at AFC Stoneham said the club is in discussions with the borough council about relocating to a new site, having only moved to their current home four years ago due to another development at the old Stoneham Park.

He said: “It’s still a long-term project. We are told we will probably be here for at least two to three years yet.

“We’ve always known it was a potential building site. We have given the borough council our requirements and we are in the process of working out where we are going to go and what’s going to be provided.”Eastleigh’s Liberal Democrat MP Mike Thornton said: “If we don’t provide for the increase of the population then lots of people will have nowhere to live.

“We need to try to pick and choose sites that have links to local facilities, we need to try and put them somewhere people will be happy to live and also preserve green spaces between different settlements.“If we don’t build there, where are we going to build?”