Campaigners to save Chawton Park Farm from being covered with 1,200 homes are celebrating after East Hampshire District Council abandoned proposals to put the land forward for housing in its draft Local Plan.

The Alton Society, which led the campaign, called it “fantastic news”.

It added: “It has gone from being a preferred site in August 2021 to now not being a potential site at all.  

“Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this campaign, and through such a large petition – nearly 30 per cent of the population of Alton – we made the point loud and clear to the district council planners that we were not going to lie down and accept building on this beautiful, serene and historic landscape.

"The Local Plan spans the period 2021 to 2040 so we can be confident that Chawton Park Farm is safe from development until at least that end date.”

Alton has been asked to take 1,700 houses over the Local Plan period, and consultation on potential sites is expected to start in January or February.

Potential Alton sites identified in the draft plan include 242 acres at Neatham Manor Farm, which would accommodate 1,000 homes including six plots for travelling showpeople.

The others are 53 acres at Brick Kiln Lane (150 homes), 22 acres at Whitedown Lane (90 homes) and two acres at the Mounters Lodge part of Travis Perkins (24 homes).

If those sites were to be approved, the location of the other 436 homes needed to reach the target would be determined by the Alton Neighbourhood Plan. 

The Alton Society added: “For now we should make the most of this moment and celebrate, and say that ‘our work is done’.

“And we can raise a toast to those at East Hampshire District Council who have had the good sense to leave Chawton Park Farm out of the site list in the Local Plan.”