WINCHESTER planners have approved revised plans that will see affordable housing being built to a higher environmental standard than ones sold at market value.
Councillors met to discuss a detailed application for Pitt Manor which got outline approval last autumn.
Fresh objections were made over layout, impact of traffic, and, predominately, drainage.
However councillors were left baffled when planning officer Lorna Hutchings confirmed that houses sold at market value would be less green than the affordable homes.
Addressing Simon Packer, director of planning specialists Turley Associates, chairman Cllr Laurence Ruffell said: “You have code three houses being sold at market value and yet code four for affordable houses; what are you going to do about that? It's not good advertising for you is it?”
Mr Packer said: “My client is aware but there is no legal requirement to provide code four housing. I'm happy to put it to my client and it would not be of an inconsiderable cost.”
Parish councillor Eleanor Bell said: “I believe we are building for tomorrow using yesterday's standards. I know of no business that would consider a marketing strategy based on lower quality, higher price. We owe it to our children and to the environment to ensure that everything built in our time is built to the most energy efficient insulation standards.”
The development will mean another 80 affordable homes will be built in an area with a waiting list of some 4,000 people. Representatives from Oliver's Battery, Pitt and Hursley raised objections to the problems 200 more houses would bring for an already water-logged area citing issues with the original plan's outline for the drainage system.
Drainage engineer Patrick Aust said: “There are large areas of permeable material so the water will fall. The pond itself is underlined by a blanket stuffed with sand and gravel and the water will slowly seep back into the chalk. Winchester has a head start of everybody else because we have a naturally sustainable water drainage system.”
However despite these objections planning chiefs voted unanimously for the revised development to go ahead.
Cllr Frank Pearson said: “I hope the same doesn't happen in Pitt as it has in Farringdon. I'm told the affordable houses will be built to a high specification. I do like the look of the village and the public open space.”