THE planning application for a new student block on the corner of Winnall Manor Road and Winnall Valley Road is a very important one for future of the city. It clearly will have a big impact on Winnall but also on future use of commercial buildings across the city.

Much of the previous new student housing in that area made use of brownfield land. Erasmus Park for instance was built on the line of the old track of the Newbury to Southampton railway. This application sees a plan to change two large business premises to student residential. We may be sleepwalking into a situation where the city comprises students and the wealthy.

READ MORE: Plans for "huge" new 158-bed block of student accommodation in Winchester submitted to City Council

Winchester needs to have a mixed economy that includes employment use. Landowners may wish to capitalise on their holding and convert businesses into residential but it is the city council’s job to ensure that a balance is retained. There is an argument that the new housing will reduce the number of students living in former council houses on the estate. But will it?

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