The latest and loudest man-made physical barrier to westerly growth came in 1976 with the opening of the A34 bypass (Map: 5). Like the disused north-south railway line, the A34 runs against the natural land form and therefore becomes elevated to the south west of the town (E). The prevailing winds remind the town of its noisy presence.
Area south of the river Test
This area of the town (D) includes the town’s schools. Residents feel it has limited scope for more housing because it is constrained by the river and its floodplain, agricultural and recreational land, and the restricted vehicular access to the centre of the town.
(Map: 7) This zone is enclosed by the present and disbanded railway routes to the north and west, the older town to the south and the agricultural land and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the east.
Area between the river and the B3400 from the town centre eastward
(Map: 8) This ribbon strip is squeezed be tween the tree-lined ridge of the chalk to the north and the alluvial river plain to the south. East of the town is Wells in the Field, and beyond that development is constrained by the designation of the adjacent land as part of the Laverstoke Conservation Area.
Area west of the disused railway
(Map: 9) This zone is enclosed by the A34 to the west and the railway routes to the north and east, where large and small estates have been built. Potentially there may be scope for further development in this area without detriment to the distinctive character of Whitchurch. Any further development in this zone should incorporate effective noise reduction and screening measures to counter the traffic noise pollution from the bypass that is becoming intolerable (see 4. The Built Environment).