ANYONE living near city council-owned land in Winchester should expect to see councillors there eyeing it for new homes.

That was the message sent out by Tory housing boss Ian Tait.

He said: “Perhaps I should say to every resident in Winchester: if you live near council land you should be expecting councillors to be there making appraisals.”

Cllr Tait, the portfolio holder for new homes delivery told the full council meeting that the cabinet are pushing ahead with plans for 70 new council homes across the district.

He revealed that plans had been submitted for five family homes at Itchen Abbas and that if permission were granted, work could begin as early as February 2013.

Cllr Tait also confirmed that work on homes at Dever Close in Micheldever would be begin on October 22, and that plans for new homes on Bourne Close, Otterbourne had now been submitted.

But Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Tod said he was unhappy at the way the programme was being communicated to the public.

“Does Ian Tait agree that residents are right to be angry about this?” Cllr Tod said.

Cllr Tait responded that the development strategy and the scheme approval and communication progress demonstrated his commitment to transparency.

It also merged during the council meeting that community consultation with residents at Abbotts Barton is due to begin in early October. The Hampshire Chronicle reported earlier in the month how angry residents there had formed an action group in response to the plans, including several homes on Dyson Drive.

The plans are all part of the council’s New Homes Delivery Programme, which aims to increase affordable housing in Winchester, with a target of 300 new homes over 10 years.