THE scale of developers' ambitions for Winchester has been revealed.

City councillors heard that developers are proposing to build on 391 sites with 57,600 homes, the size of a small city. Their aspirations are contained in the new Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA).

The Local Plan Advisory Panel heard the 391 proposals cover 3,700 hectares when the city council believes it only needs to find 30-90 hectares for its new Local Plan.

As reported, no longer included in the SHELAA is the Royaldown scheme for 5,000 homes, schools, commercial centre and solar farms between Winchester and Hursley. Also nearby Hampshire County Council-owned farmland around Compton has been removed following a public outcry last autumn and spring.

A smaller site for development has been added to the SHELAA for land abutting Oliver's Battery.

Eleanor Bell, a former city councillor and member of Hursley Parish Council, told the panel: "We would welcome assurance that sites removed (such as Royaldown) will not form part of future consideration. We are pleased to see Royaldown has been removed and Hampshire County Council farmland areas."

READ MORE HERE: Lib Dems proclaim the death of Royaldown

Leanne Cooper, a member of Compton and Shawford Parish Council, said her villages wanted more clarity on the process as several other local sites were still on the list.

Councillors are keen to stress that the assessment is a developers' wish-list and inclusion does not indicate council support.

Cllr Russell Gordon-Smith, committee chairman, said: "The SHELAA does not allocate sites. Just because something is in the SHELAA does not mean it will be built on, if it is not in the Local Plan."

Adrian Fox, strategic planner at the council, said officers were looking through the SHELAA proposals and assessing housing need. "No decisions have been made on sites. We have got to agree a development strategy first before we know how many houses we will need."


Most of the land shown is part of HCCs contribution to Royaldown development proposal

Most of the land shown is part of HCC's contribution to Royaldown development proposal


City councillor Brian Laming (above) told the panel that people in Badger Farm and Oliver's Battery wanted assurances that any development would be environmentally sensitive. As well as Royaldown the area is seeing a housing threat to the South Winchester Golf Club at Pitt, which has been purchased by Bovis Homes. "If you put too many people into a community by doubling its size you destroy that community. We need infrastructure before anything is done", he said.

Many other villages feel under pressure too. David Ashe, of Upham Parish Council, told the meeting the village had recently faced plans for 1,500 houses on Mortimer Lane near Fair Oak.

The scale of the development proposed in the borough of Eastleigh would impact on the narrow lanes of Upham and Owslebury and cause huge congestion in Colden Common.