THE arrival of the Winchester Independents as a political group is to be welcomed, because choice in the democratic process is a good thing.

Time will tell if their standing on May 5 in the city council elections will make a difference or whether there will be a repeat of the campaign in 2002. Then a group of people stood on a non-party ticket because of concerns for the setting of Winchester threatened by development at Barton Farm and Bushfield Camp. They sank without trace.

One thing that should be of concern is the independents’ daft and irrelevant idea that only people who live in the city can decide important schemes. The independents in 2002 said something similar.

So someone who has just moved to Winchester has a worthier opinion than a person who might have been born here, grown up in the city, raised a family and then moved to Badger Farm or Kings Worthy, both outside the six city wards? Does good judgment stop beyond the gates of Hyde? Are those people in Compton or Sparsholt country bumpkins? How local is local?

There seems to be an idea that decisions over Silver Hill were somehow made by people living on the moon, or at least in Bishop’s Waltham.

It should not be forgotten that Silver Hill had cross-party support from most city councillors for years, including all those representing city wards.