“THE communities wishes have been disregarded once again”.

This is according to a ward councillor after it was announced the Fort Hill Community School site had been sold.

The Winklebury school was closed by Hampshire County Council last year after the authority said that there was a lack of pupils who had applied to join the school.

Since the closure and subsequent start to demolish the Kenilworth Road site, residents and ward councillors have been campaign to keep the site in community use.

However, following an executive member for policy and resources decision day meeting at the county council, the authority has agreed terms to sell the site to VIVID Housing Association for the potential development of affordable homes.

But Winklebury ward councillor, Cllr Angie Freeman, said they have once again been ignored by the county council.

She said: “We have always made it clear that residents don’t want any more houses in the area.

“We have always said that we want the site to remain in community use and we are not amused by how dismissive the county council has been.”

She added: “One resident said to me there are going to be more than 3,000 new homes built in Manydown soon, so why would we need more houses? I just don’t understand there thinking.

“This estate cannot cope with any more houses, as we don’t have a doctor’s surgery or a secondary school.

“The communities wishes have been disregarded once again. It seems that Hampshire County Council do no care what Winklebury wants and just want to make a quick buck.”

According to VIVID the acquisition will be a major step forward and provides the platform to work in partnership with the local community, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council to develop further plans for the regeneration.

Mike Shepherd, director of new business and development at VIVID said: “We’re pleased to be able to progress our purchase of the land at Fort Hill and Newman Bassett.

“It’s a positive first step that gives us greater control of the regeneration opportunities in the area.

“Confirmation of the sale means we can now work in partnership with the local community and councils to come up with a solution for the area that meets local needs and aspirations.”

VIVID said it will involve the community and stakeholders in their regeneration plans for the area by hosting a series of public consultation events expected to start at the end of February 2020.

The organisation will work closely with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group to improve the health and wellbeing services on offer in Winklebury.

Executive director of borough services at the borough council Rebecca Emmett added: “This is fantastic news and a positive step forward. Bringing new investment into Winklebury is a high priority for the council and VIVID’s purchase of these two sites is an important step in our work to ensure the area is a great place to live.

“We will be working closely with VIVID to ensure the future proposals for these two sites are considered alongside the regeneration of the Winklebury Centre and address some of the wider issues raised through the Winklebury Community Plan such as healthcare and access to green open space.

“We will continue to work closely with VIVID, Hampshire County Council, North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, the Winklebury Community Action Group and the wider community as these plans progress.”

A spokesperson from Hampshire County Council said:“When considering the future of the Fort Hill site, Hampshire County Council has sought a solution that will enable the community to use this important asset in the long term, while preserving the history and green space on the site.

“By choosing to work with VIVID and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, the County Council hopes to ensure this site can be developed in a way that contributes to the wider regeneration of the area.

“To help fund this and address some of the priorities raised through the Winklebury Community Plan, such as healthcare and access to green open space, it is necessary for homes to be built on the land that has already been previously built on.

“We have actively engaged with the borough council and representatives of the community, and listened to feedback from ward councillors.

“The green open space will be retained for the use of local people, and the scheduled monument will be maintained.”