WINCHESTER City Council’s plans to buy a disused city centre pub as part of a multi-million pound scheme to revamp a housing estate have taken a major step forward.

The council’s bid for the New Queen’s Head in Stanmore, which had a £1m price tag, has been accepted by Enterprise Inns.

Turning the former pub into a “community and leisure hub” is central to a regeneration scheme that could see 400 new affordable homes built in the next decade, revamped play areas, improved sports pitches and new footpaths.

But the scheme has already split opinion with proposals to turn green open spaces and allotments into new housing and demolish some existing homes and garages.

Residents and community groups are being given a say over the scheme which could see the Carroll
Centre, Stanmore and District Community Centre and 8th Winchester Scouts Hut relocate from
Somers Close to the former pub site.

Consultants have suggested land vacated by the buildings could be turned into housing along with
part of Somers Close playing field.

Other open spaces earmarked for new homes include parts of Cromwell Road Recreation ground
and The Valley near Wilberforce Close/Birch Drive.

Consultants Broadway Malyan will officially unveil the long-term planning framework or “masterplan”
at a public meeting of the Town Forum this Thursday (March 21) in Winchester Guildhall at 6.30pm
where it will be debated by city councillors.

This will be followed by a public exhibition and chance to talk to consultants at The Carroll Centre on Tuesday March 26 between 11am and 7.30pm and Stanmore Primary School on Thursday April 18.

The Hampshire Chronicle revealed the consultants’ proposals two weeks ago after obtaining a draft
copy of the report and a number of residents have already attacked the scheme amid concerns it could lead to the loss of green open space.

Nigel Barnes-Evans fears his 87-year-old father’s semi-detached house in Wavell Way, where he has lived since 1964, could be among those bulldozed.

“I am totally stunned by this and he is too. I would like to know how the council thinks cutting down
trees and demolishing houses to put in high density housing is improving the estate.”
Proposals to turn the Princes Place allotments into housing could also prove unpopular. It was previously identified as a potential site for housing in the John Thompson report back in 2002-03 but eventually thrown out.

Jim Parsons, membership of the New Winchester Allotments’ Society, said all the plots were taken
and there was a waiting list.

Councillor Ian Tait, portfolio holder for new homes, stressed no decisions had been made. The Tory councillor said: “At the moment all the options are open. Nothing has yet been agreed. The month-long consultation is just exploring the work the consultants have done. We need to have these discussions because we have not had the opportunity yet.”

City councillor Jamie Scott, who represents St Luke’s ward and chaired a steering group, said:

“Many people can see the sense of having new community facilities on the New Queens Head site in Stanmore Lane as it is more accessible that Somers Close.”

Cllr Scott, who has lived all his life in Stanmore, said there was a need for more affordable housing
for local families. He said: “If we are giving up some of our open spaces, allotments and garages – wherever the new build happens, people living in Stanmore or with relatives here should have priority.”