PLANS to build more than 80 new homes in Wickham have been approved, despite concerns over drainage.

The scheme, for land to the rear of School Road, will now see a mix of 12 four-bedroom, 39-three bedroom, and 18 two-bedroom houses, plus one two-bedroom and 12 one-bedroom flats built.

Developers say 32 of those homes (39%) would be listed as ‘affordable’ through rent and shared-ownership schemes.

However, councillors on Winchester City Council planning committee – which voted to approve the development by seven votes to two – raised concerns about drainage and flooding at the site.

The committee heard work to improve the foul drainage system would be carried out at the same time as building work, and that no-one would be able to move into the new homes until Southern Water were happy with the changes. Councillors were also told work would be carried out in a bid to prevent flooding.

Airing concerns over the the scheme on behalf of the Wickham Society, Anton Hanney, who is also chairman of the Wickham Residents Association, had reservations about the drainage.

Mr Hanney also expressed concerns over the screening of the properties from neighbouring back gardens – but city planning officers said they were happy with the design – and the lack of a controlled pedestrian crossing on the A32.

“Crossing this road is the only way that the increased number of pedestrians – including children – can reach key facilities in the village,” he added.

“Pedestrian safety would be improved significantly by clearer signs, installation of a controlled crossing and a permanent speed camera. Members of this committee unfamiliar with this road should visit it before making any decision which likely to be a matter of life or death.”

Although Mr Hanney was told that was not an issue the committee could consider, Cllr Michael Read said he hoped the parish council could get involved.

Cllr Jane Rutter said: “I think this is a well designed, well thought-out scheme,” although she had reservations about a service charge to residents for a private management company.