PLANNING chiefs have heaped praise on a new housing development for Bishop’s Waltham.

On Thursday (FEB 6) they gave the green light for 34 retirement homes at the Travers Yard scrap business on Coppice Hill.

The proposal from McCarthy & Stone was voted through unanimously at a meeting in Winchester Guildhall.

McCarthy & Stone recently completed a public consultation which was met with a generally favourable response from residents, as well as the parish council. The application drew seven letters of objection though, with road safety issues chief among the concerns.

But city councillors voted unanimously in favour of the development.

Cllr Robert Johnston said: “My mother finished her days in a McCarthy & Stone development, so I have roamed the corridors of these places and I know them well. This was a well-presented application and a well presented report from the officers, so I support it.”

Cllr David Mclean said: “The number of phone calls I have had from people who have found this to be a development in keeping with the area is one of the reasons I shall be supporting this.”

Under the deal, McCarthy & Stone will have to meet 19 conditions, including pedestrian crossing improvements at Coppice Hill, a £382,612 contribution towards affordable housing, and £7,313 towards providing open space.

But some councillors were uncomfortable with those figures.

Cllr Barry Lipscomb said: “The contributions are lower than we would normally hope for and members are concerned about this in general.

“We have agreed a contribution but we’re effectively ending up subsidising a development here. Maybe we’re over a barrel.”

Julie Pinnock, head of development at the council, said: “Our guidelines say we should not stifle development in pursuit of contributions.”