SIR: Ian Tait, (Chronicle, Letters, May 20) is right, Winchester town desperately needs more truly affordable homes. This is widely recognised and I have had a similar experiences to him when knocking on doors: many people highlight this need and are anxious to see more being done to resolve the problem. He is also right in saying that Winchester must debate affordable housing provision and where it can be built.

For a number of years many, including councillors, the City of Winchester Trust and WinACC, have been arguing for a coherent strategic approach to identifying sites for housing and other development; this needs to be facilitated by those with expertise to stimulate the debate and come forward with realistic proposals based on consensus. Now, building on the work carried out last year for the Winchester Vision 2020-2030, it is time to start.

Unlike Ian Tait however I believe there is land in Winchester town, much of it owned by Winchester City Council in particular, that could well be developed for affordable homes. Mainly this is in areas where buildings have been demolished and the land used on a temporary basis, albeit over many years, as car parks. With the proposed provision of nearly 600 new parking spaces at Bar End what better time to focus on this? Such development could have multiple benefits, the provision of much-needed homes close to facilities being one. Additionally it would bring people back to live in the heart of the town so supporting the High Street and local businesses while also reducing the need for people to commute in to Winchester and so contribute to cutting car usage and pollution; it could also be an opportunity to demonstrate the council’s commitment to reducing carbon by building to Passivhaus standards. If well designed it would also vastly improve the attractiveness of the town for all: residents, visitors and those who work here.

We are at the start of a new period: let us hope that at last the opportunity will be seized and progress will be made to improve the town and address this important issue.

Liz Hutchison,

Clifton Road,