CIVIC campaigners are pressing Winchester City Council to introduce new policies to better protect the city and prevent harmful development.

They want an ‘urban design framework’ that would allow planners to consider individual developments and their wider impact.

John Hearn, of the City of Winchester Trust, pressed the town forum to consider the city-wide framework to last some 20 years..

Mr Hearn said: “We (the trust) believes planning has been too ad hoc over the years. Decisions have been made on sites without realising the implications they would have on the rest of the city.”

Planning gains had been missed because no-one was taking an overview, said Mr Hearn.

He argued that public consultation over the framework would spark public interest. “The community would own it and support it.”

Mr Hearn was himself a senior planner at the city council before retirement.

The agreed to establish an informal group to look at future planning for Winchester and consider an urban design framework in its programme for 2019-20.

Many other towns and cities have such frameworks, including Southampton, Brighton, Cheltenham, Stratford on Avon, Birmingham and Sheffield. Bath is about to introduce one.

The group will be chaired by Liz Hutchison and include Kim Gottlieb, Mike Craske and Martin Tod.

Forum acting chairman Kim Gottlieb, who has long campaigned over a heritage-led redevelopment in the city centre, said: “The intention is to establish planning guidance which the city, particularly its centre, has sorely lacked hitherto. We’ve got a very good group of Lib Dem councillors and there is a real determination to up our game within the city – you will appreciate that all previous efforts to do this were all frustrated by Conservative Cabinets.”

Meanwhile the forum will conduct a review to address public concern about speeding.