CIVIC chiefs went against officers’ recommendations to reject a plan to convert a bungalow and its annexe into two separate homes.

Winchester City Council’s planning committee unanimously permitted the application to demolish the link between a bungalow and its annexe in Dunley, near Woodmancott.

Officers recommended the plan for Vicarage Lane, near Micheldever, to be rejected because it’s creating a new dwelling in a rural location. However, applicants Jane and Graham Milsome have received written support from 13 of their 15 neighbours as well as the backing of the parish council.

Supporting reasons included that it will not alter the character of the area, the adjoining properties are already used separately and creating two smaller homes meets the accommodation needs of the secluded location.

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Hampshire Chronicle: The existing site entranceThe existing site entrance (Image: Winchester City Council)

The annexe was originally used as a home for Mrs Milsome’s parents. After they died in 2016, Mr and Mrs Milsome have used the space as a holiday let via Cottages4you.

The annexe already functions as a separate property and the couple only wish to make minimal extensions, which would not alter the character of the buildings.

Speaking at the meeting on Wednesday, March 13, Andrew Adams, chair of planning for Micheldever Parish Council, said that it is unusual for the parish council to actively support new houses.

Hampshire Chronicle: Andrew Adams speaking to the committeeAndrew Adams speaking to the committee (Image: Newsquest)

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The parish council’s strong support for the plan was reinforced by ward Councillor Stephen Godfrey. He said: “We want older people to be able to move into smaller homes. This development supports those needs. We need modest homes to be more sustainable in these isolated locations.”

Applicant Mr Milsome said he found it “particularly harsh” that the plans had been recommended for refusal when there was “overwhelming” community support.

Cllr Patrick Cunningham, committee member, said: “In the last five years I can’t recall any application receiving such support and without a single objection. If that’s not a community referendum I don’t know what is?”

Cllr Jane Rutter, committee chair, visited the site ahead of the meeting. She said: “I have a lot of sympathy and support for the parish council as parish councils rarely support new houses. It looks like Woodmancott will die without some form of development. We should take great account of the local support and general feeling in the community that this is an acceptable form of development. The proposed changes won't detract from the area, they will improve it.”

Cllr Michael Read said: “This is not a new structure, it’s already there. We’re talking about converting it into an entire property and it’s only slightly larger. I believe this is acceptable as proven by the support of the local community.”

The plan was unanimously approved with conditions to be agreed by officers.