January 04, 2016

Winchfield Action Group

I am the webmaster and committee member for on organisation called WAG - The Winchfield Action Group. We are fighting against the mass development of 500 houses right on top of a small, rural village of 200 dwellings called Winchfield in Hampshire. I would encourage all my readers to take a glance at the WAG web page or Facebook page and add their comments and thoughts. I am reproducing below a recent post which details why this new settlement is a bad idea not just for Winchfield but for all the nearby towns that believe they will benefit from having development centralised in Winchfield:


There are groups which would accuse WAG of NIMBYism (“Not In My Back Yard”) and at a superficial level this is understandable.

But WAG’s opinion is not that we don’t think Hart should concrete over Winchfield with 5000 new homes. We believe that Hart should not add 5000 new homes ANYWHERE in Hart as a new settlement. There are a number of reasons for this. Primary amongst these is the fact that the new settlement is not needed, but a key point to remember is that the new settlement will have an adverse impact on large areas of Hart district.

I live in Dogmersfield/Church Crookham. Will this affect me?

Absolutely. Apart from the influx of contractor vehicles for the development as they try to gain access to the land where the new settlement will be built, there are additional transport impacts. 5000 new houses will result in an average of 10,000 new journeys per day. A large majority of these will travel to destinations outside the immediate area and go via either Hartley Wintney, Fleet, Farnham or J5 of the M3. Any journey from Winchfield to, say, Guildford, will travel through Dogmersfield and on to Church Crookham. The additional traffic will affect both quality of life and house prices in the area.

I live in Hartley Wintney. Will this affect me?

Hartley Wintney will suffer from the same problems as Dogmersfield and Church Crookham. Additional traffic will cause problems at places such as the exit from the Odiham Road to eh A30 at Phoenix Green, the A30 junction with Dilly Lane, the A30 roundabout at the bottom of Bracknell Lane and the A30 junction with the Fleet Road. Furthermore the additional people in the area will make parking on the high street more problematic and rapidly fill up the pay-and-display parking behind the One Stop. Veterinary services will be affected as pets from 5000 new houses need to gain access to St Kitts for operations, checkups and vaccines. The dentist and hair salons in the area will become busier making it more difficult to get appointments. All this is on top of the fact that the projected development will, effectively, link Winchfield to Hartley Wintney through coalescence of the St. Mary’s estate and the new settlement.

Commuters to London from both Hartley Wintney and Dogmersfield. Church Crookham will find that parking spaces at the Winchfield Railway Station will be impossible to find. Should they be dropped off there by spouses (thereby increasing the number of daily car journeys) finding a seat or even a standing space in the morning rush will be impossible. There are no plans to increase capacity on the line at the moment.

I live in Hook. Will this affect me.

Hook will suffer from all the problems that Hartley Wintney will suffer from. In additional to that there will be traffic problems at the M3, J5 as more traffic tries to gain access to the motorway heading to either Basingstoke or eastbound towards London. Once again the new settlement will encroach on Hook with 1800+ houses of the new development officially falling in to the Hook Parish. Coalesence is another issue to be wary of as the western edge of the proposed development will connect with the eastern edges of Hook at Murrell Green.

I live in Yateley. Will this affect me?

Yateley is already afflicted with traffic issue as a result of development in the area. Hart’s own figures indicate that most commuters in the area head towards Surrey Heath or Rushmoor. This will increase commuting traffic up the A30 at Blackbushe, Cricket Hill and Frogmore, as well as the Meadows roundabout at Camberley. This will add to the misery of commuters. People working in Reading will also be affected by additional traffic heading up the A327 towards Eversley and further North, which is already a car park on most mornings and evenings.

I live in Fleet. Will this affect me?

Apart from the cut-through traffic from Winchfield which will seek to rat run through Elvetham Heath to the M3 and along Elvetham Road to Fleet Station, the new car park in Fleet will rapidly fill up as people use Fleet car park to let them leave their cars at the station when they commute to London. Obviously finding a seat on the train will be even harder than it is at present.
Car parking in Fleet will become more and more difficult as the population of the area increases. With parking at a premium Hart could, quite easily, increase parking charges as an incentive to not drive into town. The cost of being a Fleet resident will increase.

Doctors and dentists appointments will become harder to get as new settlement residents seek to establish health care facilities for them and their children.

Furthermore the children will need somewhere to go to school. Even though four schools are in the plans for a new development, these will not be built as part of the first wave of development. As a result existing schools will be pushed to capacity and beyond. Even when a new school is opened, it will focus on the children from the new settlement and will not, necessarily, solve any current overcrowding issues at Calthorpe Park.

I live in Hart. Is this good for me?

Apart from increased traffic, increased pollution, decreasing school places and the strain on facilities, a new town in Winchfield will cause significant funding issues in the short term for Hart. They already have a considerable funding shortfall and adding the new settlement will only increase that. One way the council can seek to fill that funding gap is to increase the council tax for everyone in the district.

Hart has been voted as the most desirable place to live in the country for four years running. If a large settlement is built right in the rural heart of Hart it is unlikely that this accolade will be bestowed on us for much longer.

The short answer to the question “Should I worry about a new town if I don’t live in Winchfield” is “Absolutely!” There will be a financial, economic and quality-of-life impact to everyone in the district if this development goes ahead.

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