The plans for Bushfield, which seem to be talked about as a fait accompli, are being promoted by the Church Commission, backed by Legal & General, and accepted, if that is indeed the case, by Winchester City Council.

Winchester City Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, with the aim of reaching Net Zero across the district by 2030.  Last month it updated its earlier statement that the climate emergency was its overarching priority.  This is admirable.

The Church of England similarly is aiming to reach Net Zero, although they are less ambitious, with a target of 2045.  Archbishop Justin Welby says concern for the environment is an essential part of safeguarding God’s creation.  In the meantime, there is even a climate prayer.

READ MORE HERE: Local people question developers over Bushfield Camp scheme

Unfortunately, word of this does not seem to have reached the Church Commissioners, or they would not be planning to build over undeveloped land rich with wildlife, in search of speculative profit.

Now, to make matters worse, asset managers at Legal & General, among others, have voted against climate resolutions put forward by a Dutch shareholder activist group called Follow This.  In previous years they have voted in favour, but Follow This suggests the war in Ukraine has persuaded the money people to prioritise short-term profits instead of climate action.

On top of all this, Make Architects, the rather surprising practice chosen by the Church Commissioners, also have a commitment to the environment, and set up a forum in which to discuss it.  One of their designers said in 2020: "The questions people are asking now aren’t just about how lovely the [built] space is; it’s whether this building is destroying the environment".  A cycle route or the odd green roof does not outweigh hundreds of tonnes of concrete, glass and steel - for which no actual need has been articulated.

It really is hard to see how any of the players in the Bushfield saga can possibly justify this out-of-town, car-dependent, superfluous development.  Cllr Tod says he opposed having the site in the Local Plan in 2012;  he and his council must oppose any development now.


Judith Martin,

Romsey Road,