A CONTROVERSIAL plan to demolish an office block and replace it with new offices and a retail unit has been slammed by the parish council. 

Bishop's Waltham Parish Council says it is continuing to object to the development at the Old Forge in Brook Street despite the city council giving it the go-ahead.

The parish council unanimously voted against the planning application, which would see the existing building knocked down and replaced by a larger two-storey building. They feared the new development would not fit into the historic nature of the area. 

Chair of the planning and highways committee at the parish council, Kris Ford, advised Winchester City Council that it was a "blatant disregard" of the local plan and the conservation area of Bishop’s Waltham.

READ MORE: City council permits proposed new office space in Bishop's Waltham

Hampshire Chronicle: The street scene plansThe street scene plans (Image: Winchester City Council)

However, despite dozens of objections, the plans by Sabrecore Holdings were unanimously approved by Winchester's planning committee in November.

Parish councillors are now saying they will continue to oppose the scheme as they believe that their and fellow residents’ objections were disregarded and that the town’s design statement was ignored.

They are now looking for a way to appeal the plans and have sent a letter to the city council. 

The letter read: “The proposal would not respond sympathetically to the historic setting of the conservation area, the proposal is not of a height, massing and materials that would relate well to the conservation area, the proposal contains materials that are not traditionally used in the locality.

Hampshire Chronicle: Kris Ford speaking at the planning meetingKris Ford speaking at the planning meeting (Image: Chris Atkinson)

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“The demolition of the existing building would not result in a redevelopment that would enhance the conservation area. The development would not conserve or enhance the key characteristics as defined in the Bishop’s Waltham Design Statement or the special qualities of the conservation area.

“The proposed development would have an unacceptable impact on the landscape characteristics of the area, an adverse impact on adjoining properties by overshadowing and by being overbearing. The proposal is contrary to the Bishop’s Waltham Conservation Area Technical Assessment in that the proposed development would not meet the criteria for roofscapes in Brook Street.

“The Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council’s Planning and Highways Committee requires an explanation as to why the authority didn’t comply with its own local plan. May we ask if there is any way that we can appeal this decision?”

Winchester City Council and Sabrecore Holdings have been contacted for comment but neither has responded.