CIVIC chiefs have approved controversial plans to build near ancient woodland in Knowle.

Winchester planners gave the green light for 19 homes across six sites around the village on Thursday (October 16).

Tensions peaked over plans for Park Cottages, where four houses will be built on derelict land surrounded by ancient woodland.

The council received more than 90 letters of objection across both applications, including one from Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery. Many cited a threat to wildlife and recreation in Dean Copse.

Barbara Carstens, representing the objectors, said: “Is all this destruction worth it for four houses? Are they so important that we want to sacrifice this land, that makes life in Knowle so special, just so others can meet their targets?”

The plans were submitted as one package to avoid falling foul of quotas for affordable housing. Three of the sites will contain no affordable properties but the development as a whole met the 40 per cent threshold required by the council.