CITY councillors have approved changes to new houses on a backland development on a Winchester estate.

The planning committee approved amendments to houses being built by Shorewood Homes, off Downside Road, Teg Down.

Earlier this year the council lost an appeal over the scheme after it had rejected amendments to one of the houses called Hazelwood, with its “unnecessarily restrictive” decisions criticised by the planning inspector who awarded partial costs against the city council.

The proposed changes attracted seven objections and one neighbour, a Mr Spencer, told the committee there should be traffic calming.

“There has already been a death on Downside Road. It is an accident waiting to happen for which we will hold Shorewood and the planning committee accountable.”

Mr Spencer said: “This process is flawed. This application is ridiculous. It is clear there can be no justification for approving this, so why consider it?”

Local ward councillor Kelsie Learney raised a wider issue about how the planning system was being manipulated. The council wants to see two and three bedroom houses to ensure a social mix in Winchester but she said one of the houses has technically only two bedrooms but is on the market for £750,000.

She said: “They (developers) are not just pushing back at policy boundaries but driving a coach and horses through them."

She said the policy should be changed, not to be based on the number of bedrooms but the actual size of the houses.

Jim Beavan, agent for Shorewood, said the amendments were minor with only one significant one, the removal of a garage to be replaced by a store.

Cllr Jane Rutter said: “I understand the frustration of local residents. It is unfair to blame the council for allowing the development. It was only on appeal that it was approved.”

The committee voted seven votes to none to approve the application.