COUNCILLORS have continued to raise concerns that worries raised by residents regarding plans to regenerate an area of Winklebury are being “neglected” and “ignored”.

Vivid has been working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and the NHS to create the plan.

The scheme proposed would see 206 new homes, of which 40 per cent would be affordable; a large new community park at the former Fort Hill School site; a play facility; healthcare centre; and new local shops and a small business space.

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In March Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council agreed to pause plans following a petition which raised concerns about the size of the medical hub and its ability to cope with the thousands of new homes.

The Winklebury and Manydown Community Action Group (WMCAG) submitted a petition to the council on March 24 to ask them to pause plans.

During a scrutiny Committee held on Tuesday (June 21) councillors continued to raise concerns.

Cllr Alex Lee, said: “Back in March I was pleased to see this motion had been put to the council and it does present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us a council to do the right thing for a community who feel they aren’t being listened to.

“From the closure of Fort Hill School to a development that has lead to issues it's about time this council heard the voices of those we represent.

“Residents of the ward will agree with us that the regeneration of the Winklebury centre is needed. They don’t however welcome being ignored.

“It seems that there is a common thread that links through from the council to developers and outside stakeholders and that is a failure to listen to those who the project will affect the most, the residents.”

Cllr Lee said it is evident that residents’ concerns are still being “neglected” and “ignored”.

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The leader of the Labour group Cllr Andrew McCormick shared concerns about what obstacles reviewing the plans will bring.

He added: “There is the possibility that Vivid might submit a planning application in the next few weeks so if we embark on a review I am not sure how well that will sit with a live application.

“How will that affect this process because we have been talking about regenerating the Winklebury centre for 20 years and it's much-awaited and long overdue in the eyes of many.”

He said he would not want the opportunity to “slip away from us”.

Cllr Paul Harvey said he would like to see the council actively intervene with Vivid to change plans.

Mike Shepherd, group development and new business director at Vivid, said: “We’ve worked with councillors, the community and a wide range of other stakeholders since the project to regenerate Winklebury began. Listening and taking account of their feedback is vital to achieving the vision for Winklebury that everyone wants.

"This includes ongoing communication and meetings with the council, community consultation events, newsletters and engagement with customers to assess their housing needs. Our most recent meeting with the council was last week and we’ll continue to take the views of councillors into account as key stakeholders in the planning process.”

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