COUNCILLORS will today decide on whether a £150million regeneration project should proceed in Winchester.

Members of Winchester City Council's planning committee will meet today to discuss the application for the Station Approach development.

If the application is approved, it will mark one of the final hurdles being crossed in getting the project off the ground, and go a long way to potentially unlocking £5million in grant money toward improving public space near the railway station.

As previously reported, the scheme is set transform the area around the railway station, creating 140,000 square feet of Grade A office space, along with a further 17,000 sq ft of retail, cafe and restaurant space.

Civic chiefs estimate it will provide an £81million boost to the local economy and create 1,000 jobs.

However, the planning application has faced a bumpy ride in recent weeks, with concerns ranging from the council not having any control over the development once the land has been leased to a developer, and fear the council is at risk of having to repay £5million in grant funding, to objections over the scale of the buildings and the number of parking spaces.

One of those to voice concerns was Cllr Kim Gottlieb, who said in a letter to cabinet members continuing with the current proposal would be "unwise".

Cllr Gottlieb is on the list of deputies who could vote on the planning committee if one of the regular members is unavailable, but under council rules councillors with a prejudicial interest in an application or who have made a predetermination are restricted in how much they can participate.

The application has received more than 40 formal objections, most of which focus on the scale and appearance of the development, as well as the parking. It did receive one formal letter of support from Mark Mills-Goodlet, group managing director of the Winchester Motor Group, and has regularly been backed by councillors and business leaders, including those from the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and Winchester Business Improvement district.

Should the planning application be approved, an open forum will be held on Monday September 16 to discuss the next steps of the project.

The full council will then meet on September 25 to approve of decline entering into the £5million LEP Grant Agreement and the spending of that money. The process to find a developer who will bring the plans to life will then begin in earnest.