IN your article about the plans for a "huge" new 158-bed block of student accommodation in Winnall, (Chronicle, April 28), you quote the current ward councillor up for re-election, Kathleen Becker, as saying that residents are supportive of the planning application. This is difficult to understand, unless those to whom she spoke are totally unaware of the proposals to extend the University of Southampton’s Winchester campus, bringing thousands of new students into the city. It seems as though the Lib Dem administration’s memory is very short, as in your October 2017 article 'Calls for action over increasing number of students in Winchester' they were all saying there were too many speculative planning applications for student accommodation, giving rise to a Lib Dem notice of motion proposing a stronger planning policy to get a grip on the issue. As far as I am aware, this proposal has simply been forgotten.

The Article 4 direction (which I promoted as a then ward councillor) was a year too late and many uncertified HMOs took over family homes around Winnall. These multiple occupancy houses cause real problems with the housing stock and can result in poor living standards for their tenants, antisocial behaviour, disruption of established local communities, pressure on neighbourhood services, etc.

Insofar as this speculative application in Winnall is concerned, it will add to a brand new student accommodation block at ’The Cavendish’ and another at ‘Riverside Way by Prime Vidae’ in Moorside Road, as well as Erasmus Park, SuperUni Housing and Balfour House. The word is that these flats are under-occupied and too expensive – a one-star review said of Erasmus Park, “There are so many empty rooms and the social life is zero to none.”

I fear that Winnall is in danger of being overrun by these huge blocks and nobody has mentioned the Winnall Community Development Framework in any of the planning documentation I have seen.

Your 2017 article is headed: ACTION must be taken to address the growing problem of 'studentification' across Winchester, councillors say. They seem to have overlooked the problem in their determined pursuit of the proposals for the River Park site.

Rose Burns,

Hyde Street,




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