CONCERNS are being raised over major plans to redevelop a former army base on the edge of Winchester

It comes as the public are being invited to a meeting to hear about the latest proposals for Bushfield Camp put forward by the Church Commissioners and their partners. They envisage a business park on the previously built-up land and the conservation of the adjacent chalk downland.

Badger Farm Parish Council is hosting the meeting at the estate's community centre on Monday June 12 at 7.30pm.

The City of Winchester Trust, preservation watchdogs, has raised the issue in their latest newsletter.

READ MORE HERE: Public asked views over future of former army base

Chairman Keith Leaman said: "We are monitoring the progress on Bushfield Camp. We are still very concerned about the design and the scale of the outline proposals we have seen so far. We think that the introduction of 2,000-plus people to be employed, together with their transport requirements, plus the current use, plus possible bicycle routes will lead to human saturation of the whole area.

"This we think could easily destroy what is currently part of Winchester's setting."

Hampshire Chronicle: Bushfield Camp: the MoD moved out in the 1970sBushfield Camp: the MoD moved out in the 1970s (Image: Newsquest)

Local city councillor Brian Laming (pictured)  echoed these concerns. He said: "People's main concerns include that this area has over the last 50 years has naturally rewilded thus creating a major wildlife haven and corridor it acts as a green lung on this side of the city. It is a natural extension to Whiteshute Ridge environmental project. The whole area is used by many people from all over the city.

"Traffic and public safety is a major concern as St Cross roundabout is frequently at saturation point many times a day, it can take 50 minutes to travel in from Otterbourne or Twyford to the hospital.

"I have been told that ambulances, fire engines or police have great difficulty getting through the traffic in emergencies. There is no alternative route for them to access large area of the city and hospital including emergency transfers.

SEE MORE: Countryside Charity CPRE calls for housing on Bushfield Camp

"Only 800 to 900 car parking places are suggested for 3,000 employees. The suggestion is they are to use the nearby Park and Ride. The city council wants people to use these spaces to reduce the number of cars entering the city. Today it is averaging 70% capacity leaving only 264 free spaces. These are fully utilised particularly for major events which bring business into the city.

"We believe that parking will overflow onto Badger Farm particularly as parking is free. Hampshire County Councils response to this is if problems are caused, permit parking could be introduced on the Badger Farm Estate. Why should residents have to pay to park their cars? After all they have proposed a cycle route across the land to Badger Farm and St Cross bridge which terminates in a muddy area. People will travel by car as there is no public transport."

Cllr Laming said that the proposed four-storey buildings will be highly visible from many parts of the area including the South Downs and St Catherine's Hill and even Cheesefoot Head.

"Some student accommodation is envisaged why? There is no public transport, and they would be isolated there. Are we going to be told next that retail is essential there?"

In the 1980s Bushfield Camp was the site for a proposed superstore which in the 1990s was built in Winnall.

Hampshire Chronicle: Bushfield Camp; and Cllr Brian LamingBushfield Camp; and Cllr Brian Laming (Image: Newsquest)