Police Headquarters move should be an opportunity, not a threat

I’m surprised that the Chamber of Commerce and George Beckett are so negative about the impact of the move of the Police Headquarters from Winchester to Chandler’s Ford.

This is not the same as a big local business going bust or moving to the other end of the country. No-one’s losing their job. No families will see a big drop in income. The jobs aren’t disappearing. They’re moving seven miles down the road to Chandler’s Ford. No local families will be forced to move away from Winchester and there will be no reduction in the number of police officers working out of North Walls.

People also spend most money where they live, not where they work, so the extra houses in the town centre are likely to help local business, not hurt it.

Looking at Winchester as a whole, one of our biggest problems is lack of housing, particularly affordable and social housing, rather than lack of jobs. Every day, 18,000 people commute into Winchester and 8,600 people commute out. Thousands of families are on the waiting list for social housing. The move will help address that imbalance, reduce commuting and help Winchester house more local people.

Importantly, we will get these extra houses, which count towards government targets, without being forced to build on green fields.

Some businesses will be hurt by fewer people popping out to shop at lunchtime, but more will be helped by 294 more families living and shopping in the heart of Winchester. Overall, this move should be good for local business, good for local people and good for the local environment.

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