Your article on the planned development of Bushfield (“Plans to redevelop old army base”) included a CGI illustration attributed to Winchester City Council with a view along the historic beech hanger suggesting wide open spaces between the proposed buildings and the beech trees.

Searching through the current developers’ application, I note in the Open Spaces Parameter Plan that the proposed Academic Accommodation/Hotel building (B-07 on plan) appears to almost brush the beech trees. Thus, I can only assume the wide vistas shown in the CGI are simply some CGI developer’s fantasy. 

Apart from that, the proposed height of this building is 16m (52ft) at the peak and more than 42ft at the eaves. For reference, that’s about double the height of a standard two-story house. This structure alone will stick out like a sore thumb to anyone with a view towards the beech hanger from the City, especially in winter. Rather than the classic existing view of a barrier of wonderful beech trees planted by Dame Kathleen Kenyon we’ll be looking at a row of bricks and mortar. Not a pretty sight!

The location and proposed scale of this building alone, in close proximity to the iconic beech trees overlooking the city, will fall foul of one of the main Development Strategy and Principles (Policy WT3) in the Local Plan, which specifies a ‘comprehensive conservation-led approach being required’. The proposed building structures will do exactly the opposite. In my view, any arguments put forward by the developers or by council officers to the contrary will not have an evidential leg to stand on.

Of course, the application which has been submitted for the proposed development is couched in such general terms that, despite the 90 plus supporting documents totalling around 3,830 pages as I count them, should consume a huge amount of Winchester City Council officers’ time and resource just to make sense of it and identify the numerous areas where the proposal falls outside the current adopted WCC Framework and Local Plan against which the proposal must, by law, be assessed.

I am sure there are many people with better knowledge of planning and all the likely consequences of an enormous development such as this who will be able to identify a myriad of issues. I trust they, and everyone who is concerned about this proposed development, submit their thoughts in the short timeline they have. December 12 is the cut-off date.

Charles Jennings,
Stanmore Lane,

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