SIR: In his latest Letter from Westminster (Chronicle September 24) Steve Brine proudly declares success in his nakedly political campaign against Winchester City Council (WCC) on the basis of a few letters in the Chronicle.

One was from his predecessor who abandoned the constituency 10 years ago, now lives in a hamlet in Sussex, a long way from Winchester, and who freely admits that he failed in his own misguided interference in what is and should remain a local matter. Another was from a former city council officer who had been closely involved in the Station Approach proposal and clearly felt disappointed that it had not progressed further. A third was from a Tory city councillor but not from a city centre ward. Hardly overwhelming and certainly not representative of the views of those who live in and care about the city. A very different view is offered in the Letters page of the same edition by the ever measured Judith Martin and Eileen Berry sensibly advises taking the politics out of this long running saga.

We have to accept that the retail sector is changing and that the appetite for investment in glitzy new offices has diminished (though no one ever demonstrated a genuine demand for such in Winchester). WCC is working on yet another Vision for Winchester although so quietly I suspect that many residents are unaware.

Meanwhile central government on the basis of another of its dodgy algorithms (did it learn nothing from the A-Level fiasco) has told the council it must accommodate 1,000 new homes a year, up from 600, at the same time as it seeks to take away local controls through its wholescale dismantling of the planning system.

The challenges are huge and the risks high. In the circumstances it would be sensible for the council to proceed cautiously and to focus on incremental steps that bring quick benefits to residents. One such might be new premises for St Clements surgery.

Martin Holmes,

Culverwell Gardens,