The team behind a blueprint for the future of Alton are facing a backlash over suggestions to build 1,000 homes on a “tranquil open space”.

More than 800 people have signed a petition opposing any plan to build 1,000 homes around Windmill Hill fields.

The site has been touted by the Alton Neighbourhood Plan (ANP) Steering Group as an alternative to Neatham Down, with the latter being suggested as a 1,000-home development site in EHDC’s emerging Local Plan.

But the council is unlikely to support the ‘South Alton’ alternative, while there’s a further twist as their lead planning consultant is former Alton town clerk Leah Coney.

The petition opposing the development of 1,000 homes on Windmill Hill fields was launched on last Wednesday by Sara Whitwell. More than 800 signed within its first week, with its creator urging residents to “send a strong message to the town council and steering group to think again” by adding their name.

She wrote: “To build anywhere on Windmill Hill fields would be to destroy the peace and tranquillity of this wonderful open space, with its beautiful views.”

Alton Town Council said in a statement that no firm proposals have been put forward by the ANP Steering Group as would-be development sites, including the fields around Windmill Hill, are “just options” at this stage.

They added: “The fields around Windmill Hill is one of the options and this is not new as the option was aired at the ANP Steering Group public engagement meeting at the Alton Assembly Rooms last September. 

“The ANP is intended to be from the people for the people and has yet to undergo 12 more weeks of open consultation followed by a referendum. If there is not a majority of support for any proposal or options, then they will not be included in the ANP.”

The petition can be signed at