RESIDENTS in Alresford have called for all Local Plan development ideas to scrapped amid accusations that the town council has not acted in the best interests of the electorate.
At the annual town meeting of New Alresford on Thursday (March 20) angry residents voiced feelings of distrust and their “loss of faith” at the plans put forward by Alresford Town Council in response to Winchester City Council’s Local Plan.
The town is set to develop 320 houses over the next 20 years at sites which have yet to be formally drawn up.
But residents accused the council of “brushing the issue under the carpet” citing a lack of communication with many claiming they did not know the timeframe for the submission of the plans.
Resident Frank Barker said: “At the moment what we are experiencing is secrecy. The whole thing is a sham.”
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Everyone of you as our councillors are here to represent us and I don’t think you’re doing that.”
Town councillors tried to explain the situation was very complicated and that, unless they could reach a mutual decision, it would be taken out of their hands.
Town council chair, Lisa Griffiths, said: “This is our opportunity to decide. If we can’t reach a decision then Winchester will decide for us.”
A voice shouted: “Is Putin living in Winchester then?”
Cllr Barbara Jeffs said: “We are meant to come to a mutual decision as a town. If we do not do that then a government inspector will come in and tell us where to put it.”
Resident Janet Barker said: “You have an opportunity to build houses in groups around open spaces where children can play and socialise in safe proximity to their homes. House owners will not be looking to buy a property a couple of hundred yards from an industrial estate and traveller site, though it may be fenced off.
“Many residents feel angry and aggrieved at the council’s lack of openness and I am certain that they will agree that this has been a flawed process which has produced a plan that it not fit for purpose.”
Resident Tammy Alderman said: “There’s a massive amount of elderly people who do not have internet access so how are they meant to know about it? You’re supposed to be representing us and people are just losing faith.”
Cllr Roy Gentry quipped: “There’s going to be an election in May. You’re all saying that we are not doing a very good job; I would hope there’s going to be at least five of you who think they can do a better job.”
A resolution was put forward to rectify the communication problems: “In view of the criticism and widespread dissatisfaction with the existing proposal and the flawed consultation process it’s asked for the town council to review all other options on an equal footing so that if the Pearson site proposal is found to be unsatisfactory alternative options will be available for consultation.”