A conservation group has today launched a campaign to halt massive housing development proposals in Whitchurch.

The three developments, which are currently being considered by the council as part of its local plan update, would see construction on areas of outstanding natural beauty located north of Whitchurch railway station, by Bere Mill and on The Gables adjacent to the Mill trail.

GENKO, the firm behind the bid, have submitted proposals, although planning applications have not be submitted at this stage.

A consultation on the development ran from September to November of last year.

Founder of Whitchurch Conservation Group Lucie Follett-Maitland, who is standing in the forthcoming council elections for the Whitchurch, Overton and Laverstoke ward as an independent, said: “The development will destroy our rural identity.

“Whitchurch has a fragile identity, we want to see Whitchurch have a proportionate level of development and improve infrastructure.”

“We have to fight back these proposals, it’s too important to sit back and let others prevaricate.”

“All Whitchurch is to the to the council is a service centre.”

A spokesperson for GENKO, the Guernsey registered land speculation company behind the plans, said: “We are at a very early stage of the planning process and are looking forward to presenting our more detailed plans to the residents of Whitchurch in due course.

"The plans submitted as part of the local plan drafting process show that these sites can deliver much-needed housing which is affordable to local people, as well as new offices, factories and warehouses to support new jobs in the town.

"Other services, such as a new school and medical centre, would be delivered in and around the houses, alongside a new relief road, which would help relieve traffic from the town centre."

He continued: “If included as part of the local plan, our proposals would allow more people to live and work within Whitchurch, and would deliver more services and infrastructure for the town.”

The Whitchurch Conservation Group, which has some 680 members, was established last year and is a non-political group that is ‘united in the common goal of seeking to preserve Whitchurch’s green spaces’.

Whitchurch currently has nine sites that are listed by the council for being potential development spots in line with the Local Plan.

They are: The Gables on London Road, 52 Evingar Road, The Knowlings, the cricket ground, land north of the Cricket ground, Whitchurch Glebe, South East Whitchurch, Land at Newbury Road and East of Bere Hill.

Under proposed reforms of the planning system being mooted by central government, any development listed in the local plan will automatically receive outline planning permission, making it easier for these developments to go ahead.

The borough is set to see a number of large developments over the coming years, with Manydown receiving outline planning permission last year and plans progressing for the controversial Upper Swallick development.