WINCHESTER has been hit by its high property prices in the Government new White Paper on planning.

The Government is insisting on 300,000 new homes a year and Winchester's share will be more than 1,000, up from around 600 a year, the Town Forum heard.

The increased number is the result of a computer algorithim that aims to increase supply and so reduce the cost of housing, making it more affordable.

The Government wants a stronger presumption in favour of development.

Cllr Fiona Mather, Conservative, told the forum that the Government attitude seemed to be "because people want to move to Winchester 'let's build more houses and overheat the city even more'.

"What are we going to do to change the basic premise about affordability with the requirement for housing to go up by 48 per cent. Or is everyone prepared to sit back and accept them? Lots of people on my ward (St Michaels) won't be in the slightest bit happy." Cllr Liz Hutchison said: "The reason Winchester is being asked to take more homes is based on a false premise that there is a lot of demand in Winchester and prices will fall if you increase the number of homes. The evidence is that prices don't fall where you increase the number of houses. What will happen is you will get more people coming from London."

Cllr Martin Tod raised the point of 40 per cent of the district being in the South Downs National Park. CPRE Hampshire is also pressing hard for an extended green belt in the Winchester district's Southern Parishes which may push more development into the rest of the district.

"Are the 10,000 houses in the Winchester district going to go into the north and west of the Winchester district?"

Adrian Fox, strategic planning manager, said the council would be challenging the assumptions that have seen the number of proposed houses to be increased from 600 to more than 1,000 a year.

Meanwhile, the forum heard about progress on the new Vision for Winchester. Consultants are working on finding out 'what does Winchester want' to be'.

Consultants are interviewing people and getting feedback mainly via social media. The full results will be revealed next month.