ATTEMPTS will be made tonight to sink proposals for a new town on greenfields south of Bishop-stoke and Fair Oak before the ink has even dried on draft plans for the multi-billion pound development.

Only eight weeks ago, Eastleigh councillors backed a draft planning blueprint which included a new major development area (MDA) of up to 4,000 homes.

Allington was chosen as the working title for the new town which envisaged 625 acres for the development of homes, schools, a range of shops, health, church and community facilities.

But tonight, Liberal Democrat council leader Keith House will ask members to approve moves to take legal advice to "challenge the county council's requirement of the borough council to provide for a major development area on greenfields in the borough".

And he wants to do it in advance of public consultation on the Eastleigh local plan review so that the council can delete the major development area.

Mr House said Eastleigh had always opposed the provision of a major development area - but had to include it because of the planning hierarchy which made it essential to conform with the county's structure plan.

But he added: "The county council should totally jettison its policy of major development areas around the county.

"I think it is policy which is out of date and does not fit well with emerging government policy. We should be challenging its validity. Regional and national planning policy says we should be using brownfield sites for development."

But the move is likely to spark a political row between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats about who is really responsible for the application to build on the borough's greenfields.

Tory borough councillor Colin Davidovitz will also call for Eastleigh to ask the Department of Environment, Transport and Regions to urgently scale down the development it requires Hampshire County Council to provide over the next ten years.

He will argue that there is no identifiable need for a new town in the borough, that it would be an "unnecessary incursion" into Eastleigh's greenfields and would create gridlock on already-congested roads.

Mr Davidovitz says it would be of greater advantage to locate the new town in an area of greater deprivation.