WINCHESTER city councillors will tonight debate a controversial scheme to remodel a council housing estate.

The multi-million pound proposals could see green open spaces, allotments and garages in Stanmore turned into 400 new houses and flats over the next decade. There are also proposals to revamp play areas, improve sports facilities and provide new footpaths.

Bulldozing the former New Queens Head pub in Stanmore Lane to make way for a new community and leisure centre is central to the scheme that will come under the spotlight at the Town Forum in Winchester Guildhall at 6.30pm.

The city council’s offer to buy the disused pub in Stanmore Lane, which had a £1m price tag, has been accepted by Enterprise Inns.

Residents and community groups are being given a say over the proposals which could see the Carroll Centre, Stanmore and District Community Centre and 8th Winchester Scout 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 recreation ground with the children’s play area relocated.

Alternative proposals to be considered include building a retail store or housing on the former pub site, extending the Carroll Centre and keeping a standalone scouts hut.

There is to be month-long public consultation with exhibitions at The Carroll Centre on Tuesday March 26 between 11am and 7.30pm and Stanmore Primary School on Thursday April 18.

But the scheme, which was exclusively revealed by the Hampshire Chronicle three weeks ago, has already split opinion on the estate.

A number of locals have attacked the scheme with one critic describing it as “de-greening of Stanmore” amid concerns it could destroy the garden suburb-style of the estate.

Under the proposals, which were drawn up by the city council’s planning consultants, Broadway Malyan, at a cost of £20,000, some 200 new flats could be built on tree-lined Wavell Way and grass verges turned into parking.

Open spaces earmarked for housing include parts of Cromwell Road recreation ground and The Valley near Wilberforce Close/Birch Drive.

City council chiefs say the proposals were drawn up with the aim of identifying ways to improve the estate.

Previous consultation with locals identified key issues to be tackled, including providing more affordable homes, better parking, improved community facilities and a more accessible “heart to Stanmore.”

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

Other sites earmarked for housing include two allotments sites at Princes Place and between Milner Place and Kingsley Place.

A council spokesman said: “The perception is that not all of the allotments in Stanmore are being used in full and there could be potential to redevelop one or two of the allotments least used and improve others – subject to the community’s view.”

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

The Princes Place site has only recently been turned back into allotments after previous suggestions to develop it for housing proved unpopular.