CIVIC chiefs are set revamp their public outreach programme in response to claims that they do not listen to residents over major development.

Winchester City Council will tackle its alleged lack of consultation by launching a committee for major projects and changing its approach to public feedback online.

Council leader Rob Humby rejected “much of the protest in recent months” but has pledged to improve the council’s outreach efforts.

More than one thousand took to the streets in November to denounce councillors who they claimed refuse to listen to the public on multi-million pound schemes such as Silver Hill, Station Approach and the future of River Park Leisure Centre.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Marchers protest against Winchester City Council's alleged lack of consultation in November

A new ‘cabinet sub-committee for major projects’ will meet in public to discuss the biggest schemes, he said, while officials will do more to advertise consultations on social media and the council website.

The new committee is expected to cover non-housing projects such as Station Approach, while residential developments like Barton Farm will be covered by other bodies.

Responding to a councillor’s question about “rebuilding trust and confidence” among residents, council leader Rob Humby said: “I believe strongly that the council needs to set out its overall vision for the district’s future, and how we meet the many challenges facing our communities. Our major projects will help to deliver the wider vision, creating new jobs, better housing and providing income to support services to the public.

“The council has a good track record on consultation and much of the protest in recent months has not been because we did not consult. Rather it reflects the fact that some were only too well aware of what was proposed, they simply didn’t agree. However, there is always scope to improve consultation and communications.”