The Whitenap development will build 1300 houses on the edge of Romsey south of the Tadburn road within the enclosing loop of the railway. The plans raise strong feelings about traffic, urbanisation and implications for North Baddesley.
Despite Storm Brendon lashing the carparks of Mountbatten School more than 150 people attended an engagement event. On hand were experts from all the partners involved in the Ashfield Estates plans for Whitenap, including the Princes Trust, local builders and master plan Architects.
One controversy about the scheme in North Baddesley has been possible worsening of traffic congestion on the A27. Ampfield could also be affected by increased traffic on the A3090. Tim Gray of the Ashfield Partnership said “It will cause traffic impacts there’s no point pretending otherwise. But I think by design, we can achieve a reasonably good outcome”. Designing social infrastructure including a school, multipurpose spaces, and allotting space for employment should he hopes reduce the number of car journeys the settlement generates. John Parker, a Councillor for Tadburn Ward said “It’s very difficult until we see the plans in detail and work out who exactly is going to live there and where they will work. That’s difficult to predict – although the scheme does show areas for employment the site could also be attractive for commuters. One things we might be hopeful is if we could make more use of the railway line and a suggestion that we could create a halt which would mitigate a lot of traffic into Southampton”. Addressing the same issue Alan Dowden also pointed out that there’s been no traffic modelling yet, and so we are in the territory of hopes, not predictions.
As churches one concern is what provision will be made for social meeting and acts of worship. The inclusion of buildings like community centres and places of worship helps provide points of reference within new communities, and aids route finding. Mr Gray said: “I’m committed to making provisions of all types for all faiths within these large schemes. I think that it works best if that provision can perform a number of roles. And I don’t see any reason why a place of worship can’t be used, when it’s not being used for worship, for other uses, and actually it becomes a community asset then.”
The local plan obliges the developer at Whitenap to build a two form entry primary school. They note that we’re very lucky to have other very good schools in Romsey and what we don’t want to do is to provide that primary school too early in the day because we may take students away from the other primary schools, and comment that fixing the right location for the school is critical. Mr Gray noted that they would love to bring a GP surgery into the community but “it’s very hard to make that work from the NHS point of view. And you need to find GP’s who wants to set up a new practice; without taking patients away from existing practices”.