THE public are to be asked again their views on the development of a major site on the edge of Winchester.

The city council is looking to develop the Bar End Depot once it stops being used as the contractor’s compound for the building for the new sports and leisure centre.

The council held a public consultation in 2017-18 and housing emerged as the likely use of the three-acre site on Bar End Road.

People living in Highcliffe wanted to see a convenience store and footpaths through the site.

Other ideas include a healthcare use and a new hotel. In the past the site had been viewed as having potential for business.

Geoff Coe, head of asset management, told the business and housing committee that it could be sold to a developer. But any construction was at least two years off, he said.

Cllr Hugh Lumby said: “This would be a bad time to sell the site off, bearing in mind the property market. We need a measured response rather than a panic rush to market.”

Mr Coe said the first thing would be the public engagement and then a review of the options in the autumn.

Council leader Lucille Thompson said: “The depot is a key site for the council. We want to reassure people that nothing is going to happen overnight or any time soon. There won’t be a rush to the market as Cllr Lumby suggested. No-one is spending money and we have no idea what the market is like out there.”

She announced a cross-party group to consult local people to ensure their views are heard.