“Don’t just look at where to fit new homes in – think about what sort of place we want Winchester to be” is the message to Winchester City Council  from the influential Winchester 2020 partnership between the City of Winchester Trust and climate change charity Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC).

The Council is asking people for their views about planning issues as they develop the Local Plan Part 2, which will include detailed planning policies for the next 15-20 years.

In response, Michael Carden of Winchester 2020 says: “We aren’t arguing against new homes being built. We are saying: let’s build new homes in the best possible locations for the future of Winchester. We want Winchester town to continue to be a great place in which to live, work or visit, to grow up or grow old, and to enjoy ourselves. In other words our vision is a sustainable Winchester.”

The Trust hopes to persuade the Council that they mustn’t take decisions without thinking about the bigger picture. Before the Council chooses where it wants new homes to be built, it needs to think about the implications of the different possible sites.

  • Will they mean even more traffic, or can people walk and cycle into town?
  • Which sites are closest to shops, leisure, work and public transport?
  • Which sites are realistic for developers, and will allow for 4 in 10 new homes to be “affordable”?
  • Which sites can provide open spaces for children to play, people to walk,  or other benefits for the community?

The starting point isn't where we can fit in enough homes. It isn't whether we build in the existing settlement area or outside. The starting point is: where do we build new homes to make Winchester an even better city?

If Winchester City Council back a vision of a sustainable Winchester city and set clear criteria to assess the  sustainability of all the sites, the benefits include

  • We have a proper debate about what sort of city we want.
  • We are likely to get more affordable housing
  • We avoid the risk of sites being decided by appeal if the government's target numbers aren't met

People can comment through the Council website by 4 April, or by going to meetings aimed at each of the Winchester wards and parishes that form the built-up area of Winchester.  Most City Council meetings have already taken place. The next is 13th March 6.00pm at All Saints Church Hall, St Catherine’s Road, Winchester (drop-in session from 6.0 pm followed by presentation at 7.00 pm focussed on St John and All Saints Ward).

City Council Officers will give an update on the current planning situation in the local area and outline the next steps in preparing the Local Plan Part 2. This will provide an opportunity to discuss local needs and future planning issues in the area, particularly those that can be addressed through the Local Plan. The Council’s Local Plan Part 1, adopted in 2013, establishes the planning strategy for Winchester, including housing targets for the next 20 years, together with a requirement for sufficient land available to meet economic and retail needs.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Based on public consultation by the City of Winchester Trust in partnership with Winchester Action on Climate Change. Find out more at winacc.org.uk/draft-vision-and-principles-future-winchester or www.cityofwinchestertrust.org.uk
  2. For further information call Chris Holloway, Director on 01962 827083 / 07779 283451 or Michael Carden, City of Winchester Trust, on 01962 863005
  3. Winchester Action on Climate Change Ltd is a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales with company registration no. 08013043. Our registered office is Room 163, Main Building, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester SO22 4NR. We are also a registered charity in England and Wales with charity no 1150754.