DEVELOPERS are drawing up proposals to build 300 homes on rural land south of the M27 near Southampton.

A public consultation has been launched by Bloor Homes and Barker-Mill Estates, which want to transform a 17.5-hectare site between Totton and the motorway.

Homes and other facilities will be built north of the A26 Salisbury Road if plans are submitted and approved.

The start of the consultation comes just days after New Forest District Council approved the new Local Plan, which identifies a raft of sites considered suitable for housing.

As reported in the Daily Echo, the council's decision paves the way for 10,420 homes to built across the district by 2036.

The proposals put forward by Bloor Homes and Barker-Mill Estates include a large number of affordable properties, plus play areas, employment space and possibly a new school.

The multi-million-pound scheme has sparked a mixed response on social media.

Critics of the proposed development say it will create extra traffic problems as well as increasing the strain on GP surgeries and other services.

One person posted: "It's of no benefit to Totton whatsoever and will place a huge burden on overstretched facilities." Another social media user added: "Traffic is a nightmare already."

But supporters say it will provide much-needed housing in an area where many people currently have little or no hope of owning their own home.

One person said: "I would like to think my grandchildren will have a home in the future. People moan when no new homes get built and moan when they are."

An outline planning application is expected to be submitted later this year.

A spokesperson for the applicants said: "Our proposals will make a considerable contribution towards meeting the housing needs of the New Forest district as well as delivering significant community benefits, including affordable homes, new areas of accessible open space and improvements to local transport infrastructure."

Totton councillor David Harrison added: "Many people will regret the loss of so much green farmland, north of Totton. However, we do need homes.

"My biggest anxiety is that they we won't be homes for local people and so all we are doing is placing greater strain on the local infrastructure and community services.

"Unfortunately, central government imposes housebuilding targets on this area and who owns them is a matter for market forces."

Cllr Harrison said the loss of green space was more acute because of the constraints on development in the neighbouring national park.

Fellow councillor Neville Penman said he had attended three virtual meetings with Bloor Homes.

He added: "I welcome the community consultation exercise that Bloor Homes and Barker-Mill Estates is undertaking on their plans for new homes on the site, which has been allocated as part of the adopted New Forest District Council Local Plan.

"Whilst the principle of development on the site has been established through the Local Plan process, it is important that the community have the opportunity to comment on the future plans for how the site will come forward.

"I would encourage local people to get involved in the consultation."