MICHELDEVER could soon see an eco-friendly development of six flats built on a former garage court but the plan is opposed by neighbouring residents.

Winchester City Council is progressing with a scheme “to provide much needed affordable housing” in the village and neighbours are unimpressed.

Around six years ago the authority told residents of Southbrook Cottages that they needed to vacate their council-owned garages and it was expected that remedial work would be carried out.

Since then neighbours have been left in the dark, until last week when the community was shocked to receive a document unveiling the city council’s plan for four one-bedroom and two two-bedroom apartments within a two-storey building which will all meet Passivhaus standards.

Passivhaus is the leading international low energy, design standard. Over 65,000 buildings have been designed, built and tested to this standard worldwide.

The block will also include car parking for those living in the flats.

Resident Caroline Smart, who has lived in the road for 30 years, said: “We got the document through saying they are going to build flats where the garages are which is just going to look awful.

“We don’t want a block of flats - it is a rural village – we don’t understand why they couldn’t have done parking [on the site].

“There is going to be more traffic and everyone is going to start arguing over parking, there is not enough parking here already.

“Why would they try and fit in this tiny little space a block of flats. They could have turned that into parking, it would have been a lot cheaper and make all residents of Southbrook Cottages happier.”

Hampshire Chronicle:

Mrs Smart said that one of the proposed balconies will look into her neighbours’ bungalows, losing their privacy.

One of those is Tim Witcher, who said: “They spoke about putting bungalows there and now flats which are going to look straight into my garden - I will lose all my privacy.”

He added: “This [the garage] was meant to be for my parking, now I’ve got nowhere to park my car, I’ve got to park at Lord Rank Playing Field and bring all my shopping up to my house from there.”

And Amanda Hall, whose house sits opposite the proposed site, said: “I think the plans are atrocious, flats in a rural location is a ridiculous idea.

“I don’t want anyone looking into my home, it would be pretty miserable if this happened.”

Others expressed concerns about emergency service vehicles losing their turning circle when called out to the street and will instead have to reverse onto the main road.

Neighbours have also said that they haven’t been given the opportunity to give their views on the scheme, with a presentation on Friday only allowing written questions and not an open discussion.

Shelia Fullick, who has lived in the street for 51 years, said: “They [the council] haven’t talked about it before, they have just put the plans through the door - why don’t they come and talk to us.”

Hampshire Chronicle:

The current state of the garages in Southbrook Cottages

A spokesperson for Winchester City Council told the Chronicle: “Building new homes to ensure our residents can live in the district is a key goal for this council. When choosing sites for new homes we assess each location on its merit and in this case Southbrook Cottages in Micheldever was chosen because the garages are currently in a poor state and most of the garages on the site are vacant.

“We are looking forward to hearing from local residents at a virtual engagement event about this on Friday where we are taking written questions from local residents before, during and after the event, and these will be published on the council’s website.

“We understand residents’ concerns about parking and we will be holding a separate parking consultation with residents to create a suitable parking strategy for the site.

“Not only will these homes be for local people but the homes will have a focus on being energy efficient and will be built to a Passivhaus Plus standard. This helps the council work towards the target of being carbon neutral by 2024, and the wider district carbon neutral by 2030.”