The City Council has announced their consultation plans for Winchester City Council’s Local Development Framework.
This is a hugely important paper for the future of the Winchester area. To quote the paper itself, it covers:
what need(s) to change across the District over the next twenty years
- The broad location and balance of development across the authority’s area,
- Management of the housing supply,
- The balance between employment and housing
- The delivery of affordable housing
Despite the critical importance of this strategy, it is currently proposed to have only two consultation meetings in the new Winchester constituency – one in Alresford and one in the new Discovery Centre. And the one in the Discovery Centre is in a room that contains fewer than 180 people (or 120 people if it’s organised for a workshop as planned).
The proposed consultation in Alresford makes sense, but the proposed consultation for the rest of the area around the city of Winchester is completely inadequate.
For perspective, over 450 people turned up to discuss the Tower Arts Centre in the Guildhall and over 200 people turned up to Littleton Village Hall to discuss the closure of their post office. Over 100 people turned up to discuss the Oliver’s Battery village design statement!
The proposals on the table (including an effective assumption in favour of developing on Barton Farm, Abbots Barton and Pitt Manor, and including possible further expansion north and east of the current Barton Farm site, on Teg Down, on Bushfield Camp and further into Pitt Manor Farm) are going to be hugely controversial across the city and also have a potentially huge impact in areas outside the city, such as Oliver’s Battery, Badger Farm, Kings Worthy and Compton.
There’s also a problem that not every option has been properly examined. Some villages are asking for faster expansion than proposed in the paper so that they can continue to support their local school. And important issues such as the Micheldever ‘eco-town’ are not being given the scrutiny they deserve.
In light of this, the proposal to have a single meeting in the Winchester area, in a room that holds 120 people, to discuss the future of the Winchester area over the next 20 years, is a total joke.