THE battle over proposals to build on a Winchester beauty spot is over – but will the developer start a planning war?

Alan Stone has not yet decided whether he will appeal the city council’s decision to refuse his Water Garden plans.

He had been seeking permission to build a house on the site next to the cathedral.

The scheme quickly became one of the most controversial the city has ever seen, with 1,046 people publicly objecting.

When asked if Mr Stone will appeal, his agent Richard Lowe told the Chronicle: “He has six months to decide.”

Hampshire Garden Trust, which lodged an objection, has responded to the plans being refused.

Chairman Ted Wake said: “We are very pleased that Winchester City Council so decisively rejected this planning application, which if allowed would have destroyed the Water Close garden.

“That over 1,000 objections were made demonstrates how much the residents of Winchester love and value this peaceful and tranquil place, created by Sir Peter Smithers as his legacy to the city.

“The message is loud and clear – how can we now ensure the future of this garden?”

A spokesperson for the City of Winchester Trust added: “Winchester City Council has turned down the application to build a house in the much-loved garden adjacent to Water Close.

“A record number of objections – over 1,000 – to the application demonstrates clearly how strongly city residents feel about the garden. Only one comment supporting the application was received.

“The planning officer’s report and the council’s decision notice state in detail the reasons for the refusal.

“The application was deemed to fail to comply with a significant number of policies including buildings conservation, archaeology, ecology, flood risk and tree protection.”

The Water Garden was created by Sir Peter Smithers, who served as Winchester MP from 1950 to 1964. It features a pond and classical statue underneath a magnolia tree.