OPPOSITION has been growing to a proposal to develop the back garden of a Georgian house in St Cross.

Alfred Homes wants to build eight homes behind the listed Goodworth House on St Cross Road.

Initially the city council received seven letters of support but in recent weeks the number of objections has reached 18.

Ivan Gurdler, principal tree officer at the city council, told his colleagues in the planning department: "I have concerns regarding this application. The proposal to build dwellings along

the front of the site under or near to the large mature trees will put future pressures on

them for felling or reductions because of light, shading leaf and seed issues.

"The trees are in full public view giving them high visual public amenity value and make a

significant contribution to the make up and setting of the conservation area. Any removal or reductions to these trees would have a detrimental impact on the visual public amenity value of the trees and the setting of the conservation area."

Richard Harwood, of St Cross Road, has also objected: "As it stands, the scheme does not achieve design coherence and fails to sit in its context, as well as causing heritage and road safety harm."

Mrs H Satchell, of St Cross Road, said: "Goodworth House lies, I believe, in the Conservation area - this is not an area where large back-land development should be acceptable or given permission."

The City of Winchester Trust has also objected. It likes many aspects of the scheme but is unhappy about the block housing fronting onto St Cross Road.

Several objectors do no opposes some development in the garden but say the current scheme is too big.

Zoe Keeble, ecologist and biodiversity officer at the city council commented: "The Arboricultural Impact Appraisal shows that a large number of mature trees are proposed to be felled for this development. As stated within the PEA these trees are considered ecologically valuable. These trees should be retained where possible, however if this is unachievable then tree planting is required to compensate for this loss to biodiversity."

It would involve creating an access off St Cross Road and the relocation of frontage wall at Goodworth House.

Former city councillor and planning consultant Ian Tait: “I know this site particularly well and I have been watching carefully what is being planned here. The earlier scheme didn’t seem to work at all and was something I couldn’t support, however architect Huw Thomas has come up with a much more sympathetic scheme which I feel respects the character and massing of the buildings in the area far better.

“Although it would be great if the garden could be left undeveloped I realise that this is an unrealistic expectation so I think that the current proposals are as good as could be hoped for under the circumstances.

“Whilst I can’t speak for the governors of St Faith’s School (where I am a governor) I welcome, as a private individual, the applicants offer to give over some land to the school which will really help St Faith’s,” added Mr Tait.