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Weeke playground housing plan moves closer
PLANS to develop a Winchester playground into housing have taken another step forward.
A planning application to convert green space and 22 garages in Westman Road, Weeke, into 12 affordable homes can now be submitted after a council housing committee backed the scheme.
It will provide one four-bedroom and six three-bedroom homes for families, and three two-bedroom houses and two two-bedroom bungalows for people downsizing, including the elderly.
The £2m scheme will also include improvements to Dean Park to mitigate the loss of open space in Westman Road.
The park, off Stockbridge Road, will have a new outdoor gym, football goalposts and basketball hoop added.
But Cllr Anne Weir, ward member for Weeke, raised concerns as the park is in Teg Down and would mean Weeke children would have to travel some distance to use it.
Speaking at a cabinet (housing) committee, she said: “I support the intention to develop this land for affordable housing in Weeke. We have to put this land to better use for the community.
“But I have some concerns about the proposals and would ask what is the balance of people from Weeke and Teg Down using the park? Will it actually benefit young people in Weeke to put the main part of this mitigation in Dean Park?”
Cllr Jamie Scott added: “Clearly we need to see benefits for the Weeke community and there is a great big divide in Stockbridge Road to get over to Dean Park.”
Councillors added St Matthew’s Field in Weeke would be a better location for a new play area.
But housing officers said they consulted with the community, including local children at Henry Beaufort School, and that Dean Park was the preferred option.
Head of new homes delivery, Andrew Palmer, said: “We will explore all the options but we are being led by the community to what they feel is most advantageous.”
Cllr Weir also asked officers to integrate this development with a separate scheme in Stoney Lane to avoid new tenants becoming isolated.
She said: “I want to be sure that this is not going to become an isolated cul-de-sac for the families that live there.”
No timescale is in place for the application yet, but work could not begin until 2016 according to the council’s development schedule.
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