WINCHESTER residents criticised plans to build new homes at a council meeting on Tuesday.

Council officers are proposing to identify sites in Abbotts Barton and Stanmore for new housing, part of a programme to build 300 homes over the next decade.

But around 25 Abbotts Barton residents vehemently opposed the proposals at a meeting. Brian Espiner, 65, of Chaundler Road, said: “I bought my house because it has a magnificent tree opposite and if it were to go the quality of my life would decrease significantly.

“I’ve lived here for 22 years and my children used to play on the green, so I’d hate to see that built upon. I do not disapprove of council house building, but children playthere in full view of their parents and everyone feels safe.”

Sally Eames, 60, of Charles Close, added: “The parking is bad enough now when people come to walk their dogs, or park and walk to the station. What’s going to happen when you build more houses and bring more people in?”

Residents have formed an action group to combat proposals to build on sites like the green on Dyson Drive. Councillors and officers said homes were needed, but suitability of sites would be fairly decided.

Cllr Ian Tait, portfolio holder for new homes delivery, said: “I feel we should be building in Abbotts Barton, but I’m not the decision-maker. There’s a robust planning process and there will certainly be public consultation on the plans.”

Steve Tilbury, council corporate director, added: “It is important members of the public understand our message. Officers have been charged with finding places to build new council houses and we are proceeding on that basis and we are looking at finding places to build in Abbotts Barton.

“A planning committee does not take into account that the council is the applicant. We do not get an easier ride and if anything it is slightly the other way round. It is not a done deal.”

The proposals to explore Stanmore and Abbotts Barton for sites will now go to cabinet and if approved a consultation with residents of both areas will be arranged for late September.