WINCHESTER civic chiefs are reviewing policy and commissioning research after an inspector allowed a major scheme for students.

The planning inspector upheld an appeal for flats for more than 100 students on Greenhill Road, Fulflood.

It potentially opens the way for other similar applications in suburban Winchester.

Major student housing schemes have been approved on Sparkford Road and Andover Road but this was the first in Fulflood and was highly controversial.

Cllr Caroline Brook, Portfolio Holder for the Built Environment, said: “We are in the process of reviewing our Local Plan and the need for well-situated and appropriate student accommodation is high on our agenda.

“We are liaising with the universities regarding their future growth and balancing the needs of that with the those of the local residents.

“We are also commissioning independent reports on housing needs across our district to ensure we have a firm evidence base on which to take informed decisions.

“While the Inspector did not uphold the council’s decision regarding the impact the proposal would have to the character and appearance of this part of Winchester, we can now look ahead to how best to accommodate it within our future plans.”

The plans for two student blocks, of 28 flats with 134 beds, on Greenhill Road, near the junction with Sarum Road, had been rejected at committee in 2017. There were 133 objections.

Developer JLW Winchester appealed and inspector Ian Bowen, after an inquiry, has agreed.

In his decision ruling, he said: “The plans show that whilst larger in scale than the dwellings it would replace, the proposed development would nevertheless be set back from both Greenhill Road and Sarum Road retaining open space which would be landscaped to both frontages.”

Former city councillor Ian Tait voted in favour of the plans in 2017. Now a planning consultant, he said: “This shows that high-quality, purpose-built student accommodation has a vital role to play and will reverse the loss of family housing to HMOs in areas like Stanmore and Winnall.

“I feel that the council have let residents down by not planning for sufficient high-quality student accommodation like that proposed for Greenhill Road. If this had happened then we wouldn’t have seen the loss of so much family housing. I am also surprised that the local ward councillors spoke against the proposals.”