A DRAFT plan for a controversial ‘new community’ has been revealed with 3,200 letters of notice going out to residents this week.

The masterplan includes around 1,100 new homes and a range of amenities in Whitenap, on the southern edge of Romsey.

The site was allocated in the Test Valley Local Plan and more than 1,000 objections were made.

People are now being asked for their views in a public consultation led by the Ashfield Partnership, a collaboration between the landowner, the Ashfield Estate and three regional developers, Morrish Homes, Wyatt Homes and C G Fry and Son Ltd.

The plan includes new homes, new access junctions , a primary school, a village hall and shops. Public open spaces and allotments are also outlined and a bridge over the railway line.

The Ashfield Estate landowner, Tim Knatchbull said: “England has been blighted by some awful development. Three cheers to Romsonians for a new departure at Luzborough. And when Whitenap comes down the pike, let’s all be ready to make it ‘Of Romsey, For Romsey, By Romsey.”

However, not everyone takes the same view. Local councillor, Mark Cooper said: “The site was allocated in 2016 for 1,300 dwellings. The allocation had received 1,107 objections. Nevertheless, Test Valley Borough Council went ahead and allocated the land. At no time has the Ashfield Partnership, who act for the developers, had any consultation with the local councillors, that is John Parker and myself. I also understand that TVBC planning officers have not seen the current iteration of the Masterplan.

“This lack of engagement with the councillors elected to act on behalf of the community is appalling. The fact that it is an on-line consultation also excludes a significant element of the local population.

“Both Cllr Parker and I will be campaigning to ensure that the requirements of the Borough Local Plan are met . We will not allow developers to ride roughshod over the local democratic process.”

Responding to Cllr Cooper’s concerns, Tim Gray, spokesman for the Ashfield Partnership said: “Although the principle of this development is established in the Local Plan, considerable thought based on extensive assessment and positive dialogue with the borough council and others has gone into the draft masterplan. At its heart is a desire to build a beautiful and sustainable new community that Romsey can be proud of. We are thrilled to be able to unveil our blueprint for the next chapter in the site’s history.”

Mr Gray continued: “Engagement started in 2008 with an Enquiry by Design led by the Prince’s Foundation. More recently, the Partnership held a Pathfinder Day on site and in Romsey Town Hall in May 2019, which local councillors and Romsey Future members attended. In January 2020, an evening exhibition open to the whole community was held in the Mountbatten School along with two workshops attended by local councillors and Romsey Future members. The Partnership also hired a shop unit on The Hundred for a number of weeks in spring 2020 which was open to all to view material and discuss concerns.

“Planning officers have been an important point of contact to date and we understand that they have in turn briefed members. And when invited, the Partnership is very pleased to engage with members.”Online consultation generally has a far wider reach than a traditional exhibition. It also means that people can view the material at their leisure. The Partnership is aware of rising cases of Covid in Romsey and feels that it would be irresponsible to proceed with a large gathering that would be difficult to manage safely.”

A spokesman for TVBC said until an application for development is submitted, it is usual practice for them not to see the draft masterplan.

The consultation is live from November 13 to December 4. Visit and the masterplan and a feedback form can be viewed at www.ashfieldpartnership.com/ashfield-partnership/whitenap-consultation.

The Partnership will review all comments received before finalising its planning application for submission to Test Valley Borough Council early in the New Year.