Residents say plans for Winchester housing development are based on "flawed logic" (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Residents say plans for Winchester housing development are based on "flawed logic"
CAMPAIGNERS have slammed a council document that will decide the future of a Winchester suburb.
Last week civic chiefs endorsed a “planning framework” that will shape the development of 50 new homes in Abbotts Barton.
At an unusually crowded housing committee meeting on February 27, Neil Townsend, of the Abbotts Barton Community Development Action Group, said the document was based on “flawed logic”.
He said: “We were promised by Mr Tait (the city's housing boss) that the framework would address our concerns and we're bitterly disappointed.”
He claimed that residents' concerns centred on three issues: that the report contained flawed logic, that it ignores the council's own policies, and that it ignores the concerns of Abbotts Barton residents.
“Winchester is lacking in green space, so it's contrary to your own policy,” Mr Townsend told councillors.
But the city's corporate director, Steve Tilbury, said there was a “manifest” need for the housing and that 85 per cent of the green space at Charles Close would be retained, and 50 per cent of the green space at Dyson Drive.
“This framework is an effort to be transparent so that proposals are not seen to be coming suddenly and without consultation,” Mr Tilbury said.
Much of the controversy centred on the rejection by housing chiefs' of scrubland surrounding a cadet hut as an area suitable for housing. They instead proposed that it be used as a play area for children.
Councillor Dominic Hiscock said: “We do need some more affordable housing in Winchester. But what we're asking of the people of Abbotts Barton is that they make a considerable sacrifice.
“I also feel we have failed as a council to answer the question of the cadet hut.”
But housing boss Ian Tait insisted: “It's highly unlikely that we would ever be able to get our own planners to approve that site for development.”
Last week the Chronicle reported that the plans were part of an overall programme to build 350 affordable homes in the district in the next 10 years.
The £7.5 million development will see homes built on a mix of open space and garages in Austen Close, Dyson Drive, Charles Close, Hussey Close, Hillier Way and Colbourne Court.