WINCHESTER City Council is to be congratulated for its plans to double its house-building programme from 300 to 605 by 2020.

That means 600 households will be able to live locally at a decent rent.

It will help to ensure that the city retains a social mix of people, instead of, as this newspaper has warned before, becoming increasingly middle-class.

But as Cllr Ian Tait points out there is much to do. The 600 will do little more than stop the rot. There are still thousands on the waiting list.

The bottom line is that the Winchester district needs to see more development of social housing.

Too many people think that all development is bad and that opposing it is the right thing to do.

The untrammelled building of large family homes is not what is needed, although developers and estate agents would disagree, for obvious reasons.

What is needed, says Cllr Tait and the Chronicle agrees, is a carefully-planned creation of new ‘council’ estates. Winchester has a fine record. Stanmore, Winnall and Weeke were well-designed, with good-sized homes with gardens and, when built, a strong community spirit.

Many people will disagree, saying the city would be under threat. It’s nonsense. Winchester has always evolved. The truth is that for the last 40 years the biggest threat to the city has been the lack of council house building.