SIR: I’ve just received a leaflet from the Winchester Conservative Party which displays an astonishing ignorance or misunderstanding of the planning system.

The wish list of proposed sites put forward by developers would be exactly the same regardless of who is running Winchester City Council. It is one element of the Strategic Housing Assessment. I assume their petition against building on green field sites simply represents an early start in the Tory run-up to local elections. It seems a curious issue to have chosen, however, given the recent furore over the Government’s radical overhaul of the planning system, which will give developers even more power than they have already.

If local Tories want their communities to have more control, a petition to get rid of the current Secretary of State for Housing, Community and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, would be more use. The Tory campaign team may also have forgotten that the last major development on a green field site in Winchester, namely Barton Farm was given the go-ahead by the then Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, over-ruling Winchester Planning Committee‘s refusal.

Alternatively they could start a petition calling for land reform to take back public control of the vast swathes acquired by aristocrats, the church and public schools through historic privilege, and thus bring to an end the profiteering , which prices local authorities out of building truly affordable housing for low paid essential workers and young people. I’d sign.

Karen Barratt,

Byron Avenue,