CIVIC chiefs are preparing to sell a large house in Winchester for £800,000 to reinvest in new housing.

They say that Barnes House in St Cross Road is no longer fit for purpose as temporary accommodation.

The city council has agreed in principle to try to sell the currently-empty house in 2024-25.

But concerns have been raised by opposition councillors. Conservative group leader Caroline Horrill said at the scrutiny committee: "I question whether now is the time to dispose of it".

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She said any sale should be delayed pending a review of temporary accommodation at a time of rising homelessness.

The committee heard that the proceeds of the sale of the house in upmarket St Cross will be reinvested in housing.

Cllr Christopher Westwood, cabinet member for housing, said: "Barnes House is a property that is not fit for purpose as temporary accommodation at the moment. It will require significant investment to bring it up to the required standard. We prefer to sell and reinvest in new housing.

"Like every local authority we are experiencing increased temporary accommodation pressure. The final decision should consider keeping Barnes House but I think the route forward is to agree in principle to dispose of it but have a review of that against temporary accommodation requirements. A paper on Barnes House will come back later in the year."