THE world is in a constant state of flux. Who would have thought in 1986 when Sir John Moore Barracks opened that it would be redundant only 40 years later?

Setting aside whether the Ministry of Defence is wise to be ridding itself of such facilities in this increasingly uncertain world, it is a shame that buildings currently less than 40 years old will likely be demolished.

READ MORE HERE: Public consultation on future of Sir John Moore Barracks

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation is looking at building up to 1,000 homes on the Flowerdown site, but possibly retaining some of the barracks' facilities such as the swimming pool. It is vital that the wildlife value of the site is retained. For many years the Ministry of Defence highlighted its custodianship of the chalk downland, which has never been intensively farmed.

It is also important that any housing development is aimed at the lower end of the market. The MoD will seek to maximise its returns and bigger houses do that. But that is not what Winchester needs. Big houses simply attract incomers, often from London cashing in on higher property values in the capital and fuelling the housing market in Winchester. What the city needs is more social housing, ideally council houses for rent. Right to Buy and now 'studentification' of estates such as Stanmore and Winnall has reduced the housing stock. This is a great opportunity to help restore the balance.