Four Marks and Medstead villages seem to have become a target for developers in the last 10 years. This map shows the land highlighted in yellow that has been built on (the Meadowbrook and the Medstead Farm developments).
The area shaded red marked “Barn lane site” is agricultural land adjacent to Barn Lane and outside the village settlement boundary. It was the subject of a refused planning application in 2014. It is currently being recommended for inclusion in the EHDC Local Plan (2017 – 2036) for development after 2033.
The area shaded red marked new development proposals is agricultural land between Brislands Lane and the Watercress railway line which have been brought forward in addition to the Barn lane site in the latest proposals.
There are many reasons why the Barn Lane development shouldn’t happen, including:
- High density, multi-storey housing estate out of keeping with adjacent settlement.
- Outside settlement boundary pushing a “greater” Four Marks westwards across open fields towards Ropley.
- On edge of village a long way from village centre and amenities.
- Single site of poor vehicle access onto 40 mph section of A31 as it leaves village (accident blackspot waiting to happen).
- Loss of amenity as Barn Lane and adjacent byways and fields heavily used by recreational and dog walkers.
The landowner (Winchester College School ) seem to have an unlimited appetite for raising money through land sales to fund improvement of the facilities at the school. For example, they have planning permission for land at Barton Farm valued at just under £140m in their 2018 accounts. Cala Homes started developing Barton Farm in 2016, it will continue in phases for 10-12 years, and Winchester College have received £27.1m payment so far. So, is it coincidence that Winchester College started an extensive and expensive redevelopment of their Southern Campus in early 2019?
They are clearly determined to concrete over more of Hampshire in pursuit of providing the best facilities for their privately educated pupils. The sad conclusion of the Independent’s article in 1998 about Barton Farm that ” Environmental studies, however, is not in the curriculum” is still clearly true today.
We need to continue being vigilant and support efforts to stop speculative development outside the village boundary.