PLANS for a 500-home development near Winchester have been branded “preposterous” as concerns continue to rise.
An exhibition for the site at Pitt Vale was on display to residents last week (Tuesday, July 15).
But the development has not been welcomed by its nearest parish, Hursley, with traffic issues cited as a major problem.
Hursley Parish Council clerk John Brooks said: “The idea of the traffic from a further 500 houses feeding into the A3090 at a junction between Enmill Lane and the Badger Farm roundabout is preposterous.
“In the morning peak traffic already regularly queues from the roundabout past Enmill Lane and further traffic and a junction in the middle of the queue would cause chaos.
“The parish council is unanimously opposed to the principle of development of this land which will turn Pitt village into part of Winchester. Our chair, Eleanor Bell, repeatedly urged Winchester City Council to designate the land as a formal protected gap between settlements but without success. Nevertheless the land is not designated for development and is subject to countryside policies and we expect any application to be refused.”
Frederica Teale, a resident of Pitt and Hursley parish councillor, said: “Everyone is thoroughly against it basically. At the moment there any no plans for anything specific but we will be putting in an objection as and when the time comes. It’s not even Winchester; it’s Hursley and it would double the entire population of Hursley.
“There’s barely enough spaces at the schools at the moment, or even the doctor surgeries, how do they think another 500 homes will help? Nobody wants it.”
Senior city councillor Jan Warwick, portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and environment, said: “I will strongly oppose any development at Pitt Vale for several reasons. The area of Pitt Vale is outside the city limits of Winchester and as Winchester City Council now has clear, strategic guidance for housing allocation in place by means of the Local Plan there is no housing allocation requirement to develop in this area.
“Pitt Manor as we know is already being built in the important area known as the 'gap' between the village of Pitt and the city of Winchester. The area known at Pitt Vale must remain as green fields to prevent an urban sprawl into the countryside.
“The busy A3090 runs past the entrance to Pitt village and is recognised as an accident 'blackspot' even with the recently introduced 40mph limit there have still been accidents here. I would be very surprised if Hampshire Highways would agree this would be a suitable access to service some 500 households.
“One of the most voiced concerns of the Pitt residents following the recent flooding in the area would be the failure of any development to mitigate the impact on drainage. Pitt has suffered with flooding associated with both ground water levels and surface run-off. Several of the households flooded this February.
“I will be urging officers at Winchester City Council to resist this planning proposal robustly.”
Richard Ayre, strategic land and planning director at Linden Homes, said: “We had a good turnout at our event last week, with over 100 people attending to view our early proposals for the site. We have also met with representatives from the Pitt Residents’ Association, WinACC and the City of Winchester Trust, to ensure they are aware of the proposals. We received a lot of feedback, both from the meetings that we held and at the public consultation, and we are currently in the process of undertaking a review of that. This will then be fed into the design process as the proposals continue to evolve.
“We understand the concerns that have been expressed and there is currently a lot of technical work going on – particularly on the landscape and visual impact, highways and drainage – to enable us to respond to those concerns. We will be holding a second public consultation in September at which point we’ll try and address the points that have been raised and display a more developed masterplan. This will provide a further opportunity to view and comment on the proposals prior to the submission of an outline planning application to Winchester City Council.
“We believe the proposals would deliver significant benefits to Winchester, not only through new open market and affordable housing, but also with the creation of jobs, a direct investment of £70 million into the local economy, financial contributions towards infrastructure improvements and a New Homes Bonus payment of approximately £4 million to Winchester City Council and £1 million to Hampshire County Council.”