WINCHESTER Residents Association could be on the verge of disbanding because of a steep drop in membership.

The 40-year-old association is holding a special meeting next month after the committee decided it could no longer maintain its effectiveness.

The meeting comes a year after warnings were sounded that an injection of fresh blood was needed.

In a letter to members chairman John Thomas said: “At the last AGM members voted overwhelmingly to carry on with the work of the association rather than disbanding and during the year three additional members joined the committee.

“However we have been unable to recruit more members to counteract the decline in numbers over recent years.

“In facing this problem we have to recognise that the interests of Winchester residents are also served by local associations which are often formed with strong support from directly affected residents to challenge unwelcome local development plans.”

This has recently been demonstrated by the Save the Rec group formed to fight proposals for River Park Leisure Centre.

One of the drivers for the formation of the trust in the early 1970s were plans for major roads across Winnall Moors and the Three-quarter Ring Road plan.

Mr Thomas said the association’s role has been to take a more strategic view of city-wide issues including major road and housing developments, NHS matters and the Local Development Plans prepared by Winchester City Council.

The meeting will be held in the Milner Hall in St Peter Street at 7.30pm on Thursday, January 9 starting at 7.30pm. It will also decide the disposal of the association’s funds.

Mr Thomas added: “The association has a record of some notable achievements during its existence over the past 40 years but time has now caught up with us in terms of attracting new and younger members to carry us into the future. Inevitably the workload of the Committee has devolved on to fewer officers as a result of unfilled vacancies with the added difficulty of replacing those in post for many years. I pay tribute here to Ann Gossling, our Treasurer, who has served on the Committee in various roles for over 20 years.”