SIR: In reply to Councillor Lumby’s rambling and discursive letter (Chronicle, November 4) which raises a range of mostly unrelated topics.

There is little justification in suggesting that the south of the District does not receive a fair share of planning officers’ time and he provides no supporting evidence for the allegation. The largest developments under construction in the District lie in the south and quite rightly take up much officer time. The Local Plan now being developed covers the whole District.

There has never ceased to be liaison between senior planning officers in the Winchester District and Fareham Borough on the topic of Welborne. There are currently discussions on the best arrangements to be put in place now that outline planning permission has been granted and that the development is moving into the reserved matters and implementation stage. Any such arrangements have to be agreed by all parties. Welborne lies within the jurisdiction of Fareham and WCC are only consultees.

The outline planning application for Welborne was submitted in 2017, when the previous administration was in control, so it is surprising that Cllr Lumby has waited four years to wake from his slumbers and to raise concerns over traffic.

Welborne is intended to be a ‘south facing’ development with deliberate discouragement to traffic movement north up the A32 due to be put in place, such as changes to the road system between Welborne and Wickham. WCC will ensure that these happen. Two primary schools and a secondary school and a local surgery and a retail area are part of the development, so there is no reason to suppose undue demand will be placed on Wickham. WCC will do all they can to ensure that these facilities are built at the appropriate time.

Local authorities have been steadily undermined by Central Government for some years, as it endeavours to ‘take back control’ and it is richly ironic to now be criticised for the resulting reduction in staff numbers. Despite limited resources, WCC attracts and retains a good level of experienced officers, but of course are no more immune to staffing problems than haulage companies, abattoirs and farmers. Of noteworthy relevance is the successful effort WCC has made to build up their planning enforcement team.

I am of course always available to Cllr Lumby, as to all residents of the District to listen to genuine concerns and valid criticism.

Russell Gordon-Smith,

Cabinet member for the Built Environment,

Winchester City Council,

Ward member for New Alresford and the Itchen Valley,

West Street, Alresford

SIR: Hugh Lumby (Letters, November 4) believes that some areas of Hampshire receive more attention than others from Winchester City Council.

He also claims correctly that staff numbers working with Winchester City Council have been ‘allowed to decrease’.

‘The present administration’ has had a majority in Winchester for a brief time.

Successive Conservative governments in Westminster have been whittling away at local government resources for years. Blame them.

Dinah Ashcroft,

West Street,