A DEVELOPER is drawing up plans for one of the biggest housing schemes in Winchester in decades.

Linden Homes want to build 500 homes at Pittvale, the land off Romsey Road, between Kilham Lane and Enmill Lane, Pitt.

It held a public consultation at The Tower at Kings’ School on Tuesday evening to show the public its initial ideas.

The 500 homes make it the largest scheme in the city since Badger Farm in the 1980s, apart from 2,000-home Barton Farm.

The proposed development is next to Pitt Manor, the 200-home scheme which got permission after a public inquiry and where construction started recently.

One resident, from Oliver’s Battery, who asked not to be named, said: “The traffic’s going to be hell if this gets through. It's bad enough with Pitt Manor but add another 500 homes it'll be just awful.”

A spokesman for Linden Homes, at the exhibition, said: “It's just provisional at this stage and it’s a way of trying to gage the public’s reaction to what's been suggested. We will be having another exhibition in September based on the feedback today and the surveys we will conduct over the next few months.”

Linden is due soon to give a presentation to the City of Winchester Trust, the preservation watchdogs.

But Patrick Davies, the chairman of its policy group, said: “Alarm bells are ringing all round. It would be catastrophic if this gets permission.

“The architect Paul Bulkeley is putting forward the argument that Winchester has to grow but the city council planners are adamant there are more than adequate sites within the city.

“I would hope the city council line will be that this is outside the development boundary and that we have adequare land supply for five years or more.

“It would open the floodgates, it would breach the principle that development only takes place within the allocated city boundary. It is a real red flag scheme. If this goes through the policy goes out of the window.”