ONE of the biggest planning applications in Winchester's history has been submitted for the redevelopment of a former army base.

After years of debate and public consultations, an outline planning application was sent in for Bushfield Camp on Friday, October 27.

The major scheme includes a business park, 'academic accommodation', a hotel, retail, parking, sport and community hub, landscaping and public realm works. More than half would be retained as open space.

The proposal has been put forward by the Church Commissioners.

The site has been earmarked for business use in the Winchester Local Plan for more than 10 years.

Reacting the the plans Cllr Jan Warwick, who represents the Badger Farm and Oliver's Battery ward on Winchester City Council, said: “Local residents are concerned about the size and impact of this significant application on this biodiverse site that has been left largely untouched since the 1970s.

"Although we have known it would be developed at some point it is important that we try to protect the biodiversity and any reduce adverse impacts through a very thorough planning process.

Hampshire Chronicle: Bushfield Camp CGI

READ MORE: Bushfield Camp masterplan approved by Winchester City Council Cabinet

"There are concerns that the planning application process will not allow sufficient scrutiny of the full documentation and it will be difficult for residents to fully appreciate the ultimate impact. We understand at the moment local councillors will only get the usual five minutes to speak. We hope to persuade the planning process to allow a greater public participation than would be allowed for a routine application."

The application has 116 documents. By Friday, November 3 no public comments had been submitted in support or objection. 

The scheme includes academic accommodation with 525 beds, a 100-bed hotel and 1,055 parking spaces in a multi-storey car park. 

On the planning statement, it said: “The proposals will create new connected accessible green space in the former camp area and meadows to the east along with securing public accessibility and the long term management of 17 ha of existing green space in Drovers Field. Enhancement of this existing open space will promote biodiversity and habitat creation. 

“New footpaths will allow access to both these areas and offer new publicly accessible views over the SDNP and city of Winchester. The development will mediate between the city centre and the countryside, and the concept masterplan has been designed with this ethos and ambition at its forefront.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Bushfield Camp CGI

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The main centre of the proposals is called the Knowledge Quarter. The planning statement said: “The Knowledge Campus has three distinct but overlapping disciplines combined -academia, research/development and commerce. 

“Associated with the academic floorspace on site, the proposed scheme includes a provision for academic accommodation. The combination and interaction of commerce, research and academia means people will visit the site for extended stays. Therefore, this accommodation will cater to those working at and/or associated with the academic institutions on site. The illustrative masterplan provides up to 525 beds of academic accommodation. 

“A hotel is also proposed as part of the outline application. The illustrative masterplan proposal is for a 100 bed hotel to be located on the application site to support the employment focused development.

“A provision of 1,055 car parking spaces is proposed. Parking spaces have been kept to a minimum and are largely located in centralised multi-storey car park adjacent to Arrival Place.”

Should the scheme be permitted, work will start next year and last for around 11 years. 

Bushfield Camp was used by the Army during the Second World War. The camp was closed in the 1970s.

To view the application online, search 23/02507/OUT on Winchester City Council's planning portal.