Pressure remains relentless for development in Winchester

Hampshire Chronicle: A map of the land the city council is considering for potential development over the next 20 years A map of the land the city council is considering for potential development over the next 20 years

THE pressure for development around Winchester remains relentless as this map clearly shows - even with Barton Farm set to be developed with 2,000 homes.

The plan indicates the land that the city council is considering for potential development over the next 20 years.

Called the Strategic Housing Land Availability (SHLAA) it is a database of sites whose owners have asked planners to earmark for housing.

Barton Farm is marked, as is farmland to the north of Wellhouse Lane, dubbed Barton Farm 2, where Bovis and Heron Homes have options for development.

Also included is South Winchester Golf Club and land at Pitt Down owned by farm company Hall and Burge. There are also around 20 sites within Winchester.

Conservation campaigners are concerned about the number of sites being promoted.

Patrick Davies, chairman of the policy group of the City of Winchester Trust, said: “The western side of the city is very vulnerable. There are no natural boundaries that would give a reason to stop. There are an awful lot of landowners with aspirations. This is one of the great worries. Clearly there has to be new housing but things could get out of hand. It is difficult to know if landowners have serious proposals.”

The trust believes there are enough sites within the city to absorb development. One landowner on the west is Winchester College which recently bought two sites near the Royal Winchester Golf Club.

Robin Chute, estates bursar, said: “We bought a 15-acre field off Sarum Road last July. It was put forward (for SHLAA) by the previous owners Gleeson Homes. The council asked whether we still wanted it registered. We said yes. Nothing is going to happen there for 20 years. Sometime in the future there may be development. We have let it on a 20-year farm tenancy to Joy and Rachel Waldron of Beechcroft Farm.

“It is the same with our land at Weeke Down. We bought that from a property developer at auction. We are obliged under the terms of the contract to promote it,” said Mr Chute.

He said it is the college’s land and property that produces income to maintain its historic buildings.

The number of sites in the SHLAA has been gradually increasing since it was started in 2008.

But Steve Opacic, head of strategic planning at the city council, stressed that inclusion did not mean the land would be developed. “It is a list of sites that landowners want to promote. It does not give them any status and does not change planning policies applying to them.

“The big worry amongst councillors was that if we started publishing maps people might get the wrong end of the stick, but planning inspectors know what status they have or don’t have,” added Mr Opacic.

Bushfield Camp south of Winchester is not marked because its owners, the Church Commissioners, want non-housing development there. The City of Winchester Trust is concerned that Bushfield Camp is now considered by planners to be an ‘opportunity site’ in the future.

The publication of the map coincides with the city council launching the preparation of Local Plan Part 2 to allocate smaller sites for development in the district outside the South Downs National Park.

Part 2 will also provide the opportunity to review existing policies and settlement boundaries for the Plan which will extend until 2031.

Cllr Rob Humby, portfolio holder for strategic planning and economic development, said: “Local Plan Part 2 is an important part of the Local Plan. The council will be working closely with local communities, especially in the larger settlements that have a housing target in Local Plan Part 1, to develop a Plan that has strong local input and community support.”

The deadline for comments is Noon Friday February 22.

Comments (2)

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9:36am Sat 5 Jan 13

Fit4thefuture says...

It's extremely worrying and disappointing to see parts of the Bar End playing fields listed here (specifically the Garrison Ground, which is owned by Tesco, and the old farm site owned by Hampshire CC).

The playing fields and other open spaces at Bar End are prime sports and recreational sites. They are rightly earmarked for protection and enhancement in the Winchester District Open Space Strategy 2012. The same open space strategy states that Winchester city (and many of the surrounding areas) has a deficit of sports facilities and recreational open space, relative to need.

The need will only grow with the level of development and population growth already planned - never mind any additional development as per your article.

It is surely time to secure Bar End as major sports hub, which is accessible to residents of the city and surrounding areas. We strongly believe the way to do this is to build the multi-sport centre that is urgently required at Bar End (to meet the need for community accessible, competition standard indoor court and pool/aquatics facilities in particular), and to protect and enhance the playing fields and other sports facilities around it.

This does not preclude protecting and enhancing the facilities at North Walls - even though the old River Park Leisure Centre has had its day and has become a huge financial burden for local taxpayers, there are other open space facilities at North Walls that require protection and enhancement. Nor does it reduce the need for investment in and protection of other open spaces across the city and broader district.

We need balanced, responsible and strategic development of our city, which properly considers issues such as population health and well-being, environmental concerns, social cohesion, and the need to address areas of socio-economic deprivation. I very much hope that type of development is what we will see in future. As a concerned local resident, I for one will be doing my best to ensure it is. I hope our local councillors will too.
It's extremely worrying and disappointing to see parts of the Bar End playing fields listed here (specifically the Garrison Ground, which is owned by Tesco, and the old farm site owned by Hampshire CC). The playing fields and other open spaces at Bar End are prime sports and recreational sites. They are rightly earmarked for protection and enhancement in the Winchester District Open Space Strategy 2012. The same open space strategy states that Winchester city (and many of the surrounding areas) has a deficit of sports facilities and recreational open space, relative to need. The need will only grow with the level of development and population growth already planned - never mind any additional development as per your article. It is surely time to secure Bar End as major sports hub, which is accessible to residents of the city and surrounding areas. We strongly believe the way to do this is to build the multi-sport centre that is urgently required at Bar End (to meet the need for community accessible, competition standard indoor court and pool/aquatics facilities in particular), and to protect and enhance the playing fields and other sports facilities around it. This does not preclude protecting and enhancing the facilities at North Walls - even though the old River Park Leisure Centre has had its day and has become a huge financial burden for local taxpayers, there are other open space facilities at North Walls that require protection and enhancement. Nor does it reduce the need for investment in and protection of other open spaces across the city and broader district. We need balanced, responsible and strategic development of our city, which properly considers issues such as population health and well-being, environmental concerns, social cohesion, and the need to address areas of socio-economic deprivation. I very much hope that type of development is what we will see in future. As a concerned local resident, I for one will be doing my best to ensure it is. I hope our local councillors will too. Fit4thefuture
  • Score: 0

9:30am Tue 8 Jan 13

S Radburn says...

No more housing developments! Winchester is already overflowing and doesn't have the facilities to support additional residents.

I agree with the Fit4theFuture comment in every respect. Sports facilities are sadly lacking in Winchester (unless you want to pay a fortune for private facilities) and planning to put houses on a site like Bar End is completely wrong and doesn't take into consideration the MASSIVE requirement for existing residents to have decent facilities. The land at Bar End is already (partly) set out as a "place for sport" so it makes sense to enhance this area for the benefit of existing residents. If you want to build more houses, knock down River Park and build them there!
No more housing developments! Winchester is already overflowing and doesn't have the facilities to support additional residents. I agree with the Fit4theFuture comment in every respect. Sports facilities are sadly lacking in Winchester (unless you want to pay a fortune for private facilities) and planning to put houses on a site like Bar End is completely wrong and doesn't take into consideration the MASSIVE requirement for existing residents to have decent facilities. The land at Bar End is already (partly) set out as a "place for sport" so it makes sense to enhance this area for the benefit of existing residents. If you want to build more houses, knock down River Park and build them there! S Radburn
  • Score: 1

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