HASLEMERE Town Council is putting on the pressure to bring an end to "town cramming" of new homes in the area.

Town councillors were responding to a draft planning document by Waverley on government-imposed rules on the density and size of homes, which call for at least 30 homes per hectare or around 12 per acre.

Members of the planning and highways committee have condemned the new policy in certain areas of Haslemere and Hindhead.

It follows a warning given by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott last week that any application in the SE that does not conform to the new densities could eventually be called in for public inquiry.

The draft additional planning guidance in this year's Waverley Local Plan, which calls for much smaller houses and gardens, states that densities above 50 homes per hectare should also be encouraged " at places with good public transport accessibility".

The report says that also includes the town centre "within approximately a five-minute walk to the railway station".

"It is difficult to agree with a policy which encourages further development in areas which are already suffering traffic congestion and other problems.

"We feel that special consideration should be given to areas such as Haslemere and Hindhead in view of its being a rural area, containing a historic market town and conservation area, interspersed with green belt, and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty AONB and National Trust land" say the town councillors in their reply.

And they warn that "whole streets could be rapidly changed in character" by the policy.

"It would be preferable to look at sites in excess of one hectare, rather than sites for three dwelling units, as many gardens in Haslemere and Hindhead fit this description," say town councillors

They claim that more emphasis should be given to "identifying and re-developing semi-derelict areas within the borough and encouraging the use of upper floors within shopping areas for residential use".

They also call for additional areas of Tower Road and Wood Road in Hindhead as well as Courts Hill Road, Courts Mount and Beech Road to be added to the lists of roads already identified as low-density residential areas.