WINCHESTER residents will have to wait an additional month before a decision is made on major plans for a former army base.

As previously reported, developers have applied to Winchester City Council for permission to develop unused land at Bushfield Camp into a business park.

The application was submitted to the council last October by the Church Commissioners, in partnership with Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) and Gisborne.

However, National Highways has asked that the council makes no decision on the application until August 28.

Bushfield Camp CGIBushfield Camp CGI (Image: Contributed)

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In a consultee comment, the government agency said that it has requested the delay to “enable further information to be provided by the applicant and to allow (National Highways) to provide the Local Planning Authority with fully formed advice.”

When asked about the delay, city councillor Brian Laming, local member for Badger Farm and Oliver's Battery ward, said: “There is not a lot we can say or do because we do not know what the comments from Highways are going to be. Their comments are quite important, as because a lot of the development hinges on how you get people in and out of the site, and it needs to be done in a sustainable way.

“And there is a lack of public transport in the area, and there is a lack of cycle ways. So, what Highways England says matters a great deal.”

He continued: “I think people are looking to make sure that everything is done in a correct manner.”

Cllr Jan Warwick, local member for Badger Farm and Oliver's Battery, said: “I’m pleased they are taking a bit more time to consider the highways impact – there are a couple of impacts, but highways is probably the most worrying one for local residents.

“I think it’s 5,500 additional car movements a day, with particular focus on peak hours with the traffic, and that is a concern. It’s not just the local traffic it’s on the motorway network as well, so I am pleased they are looking at that again.

“We absolutely have to get this right. If highways is giving very careful consideration to their response that is very reassuring to me. So, I think we are happy to wait to get it right.”

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Tom Southgate, senior asset manager for the Church Commissioners, said that the delay was expected.

He said: “The recent communication from National Highways is part of the standard process between a statutory consultee, the local planning authority and an applicant. We were not anticipating determination of our planning application until Autumn at the earliest and as such the extension of time requested by National Highways was expected.

“On strategically important projects like Bushfield, it’s important that proper time is allowed for all parties to discuss and agree solutions. That collaborative approach will help us realise the vision for the Bushfield Camp to become a best-in-class, mixed-use knowledge park for the city. We welcome all input and engagement to date and look forward to being able to making further announcements on the transport package to support the development in due course.”

The scheme has proved highly controversial with more than 800 objections by the end of 2023. The former army site, of Badger Farm Road, will be built on but the developers aim to restore much of the rest of the site to a nature reserve.