THE PUBLIC and councillors have clashed again over the extent to which Winchester is consulted about new developments.

The cabinet special meeting discussed an initial draft of the detailed local plan for all upcoming projects, both large and small.

Some 4,000 new homes are set to be built in the city in the next decade. Barton Farm, on the northern fringes, will provide 2,000 of this quota.

Silver Hill, the current Police Headquarters, plus the Pitt Manor and Francis Gardens’ developments are set to yield another 900 homes.

And the conversion of part of the Royal Hampshire County Hospital could provide a further 58.

But the meeting on Monday (SEP22) proved tetchy at times, with Worthy Lane resident Caroline Dennis telling councillors: “As residents we feel disaffected, we are not being listened to, nor are our views and local knowledge being sought.

“One city councillor in the context of another proposed local development which has incurred many objections, referred to local residents and protestors as ‘Rentamob’. Are people really acting in our interests?”

Lib Dem councillor Robert Hutchison drew applause from a packed public gallery when he told the Conservative-led cabinet: “I think we are making a lot of mistakes and I think it's time we did it better.

“One of the things we are very bad at is public engagement. We have alienated a lot of local people, they feel their views are not taken seriously.”

But cabinet vice chairman Victoria Weston said the draft plan was the result of around 20 months’ work which included "extensive public involvement", and council consultation which went far beyond what it was obliged to carry out.

"To get to this stage there has been a lot of work with local communities in Winchester town," she said.

But when Cllr Weston restressed this answer, a public heckler called out that her answer was "inadequate and misleading".

Public ire focused on the possibility of future redevelopment at the Station Approach and Cattle Market area, despite the fact that a planning application has yet to be submitted.

Cllr Hutchison said there was strong local opinion supporting the preservation of the Victorian-built Register Office, which could be knocked down.

“We are very keen on keeping important trees, but we are not keen on keeping buildings that add character to a local area. We shouldn’t snuff it out.”

But city council corporate director Steve Tilbury said there had only been an initial report on a possible Cattle Market redevelopment so far. “What we're considering here is policy in terms of land use,” he added.

An initial draft of the detailed district plan will be published next month, after which there will be period of public consultation between October 24 and December 5.

The intention is that the finalised plan will be examined within Whitehall and formally adopted in July 2016.

The number of sites and houses in each village is: Bishop’s Waltham: four sites, 380 homes; Colden Common,one, 165; Kings Worthy, one, 50; Alresford, two, 385; Swanmore, three, 215; Waltham Chase, four, 175; Wickham, two, 205; Denmead, four, 130.

The issue in Alresford has been highly controversial. Robert Fowler of the Sun Hill and Tichborne Down Action Group told the meeting: “We feel our views have been ignored and we have a better plan we can outline to you.

“A period of consultation has been carried out, but that consultation has been top-down driven and directed towards a single site right from the beginning.

“At one particular public meeting we had over 600 people spilling out of a large hall.”