SIR: We, the undersigned, are getting increasingly concerned about the way the Winchester District Local Plan is being managed.

We recognise the challenges Winchester City Council faces and the role a local plan has in finding economic and housing solutions. However, a sound local plan needs to be properly prepared, with thorough public consultation. This is in all our interests.

Winchester’s draft local plan outlining housing allocations is due for publication this summer. However, the timeline for consultation with Winchester residents and parish councils on the SHELAA (Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessments) has slipped significantly.

Winchester City Council’s action plan proposed to “set up a series of meetings with parish councils in Q1 2021 on initial SHELAA assessment and on potential locations/sites for Growth/Renewal/Protection Areas in a new style local plan”.

There needs to be a huge amount of public consultation before May 2022, including the preparation, assessment and agreement of the draft Local Plan.

Parishes across the district face SHELAA proposals totalling thousands of dwellings. We are very aware, however, that the additional housing requirement for the whole of the Winchester district is 2,700 plus an undisclosed housing allocation from the PfSH (Partnership for Southern Hampshire).

Many of us have already advised Winchester Council that the green fields put forward by developers are largely unsuitable for housing for many reasons including the reliance on the car, poor infrastructure including roads, schools, and healthcare, flood risk, the need to preserve settlement gaps, as well as historical, agricultural and landscape value.

Winchester Council has not yet found time to discuss these with our residents. Consequently, we are not able to take local soundings about the potential for development in any ward. We urgently need Winchester Council to urgently assess and clarify their Local Plan proposals.

So here we are less than three months from the completion of the draft local plan and we have no word on housing numbers, the SHELAA assessments or when Winchester Council will be consulting with us. Please could someone from Winchester City Council pick up the phone!

John Godbold, chairman, Badger Farm Parish Council

Gwyn Halsall, chairman, Upham Parish Council

David Killeen BEM, chairman, Hursley Parish Council

David Kirkby, vice-chairman, Olivers Battery Parish Council

Mark Smith, chairman, Otterbourne Parish Council

Sue Wood, chairman, Sparsholt Parish Council

READ MORE HERE: Developers' ambitions for Winchester district - 57,000 new homes


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