SIR: Do residents of the Winchester District know about the Partnership for South Hampshire?

The Liberal Democrat administration has recently agreed to the development of a Joint Strategy with the Partnership that will propose the scale and location of development needs of the Solent area as part of our new Local Plan. The Partnership includes Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport , Havant, New Forest, Portsmouth and Southampton Councils and parts of East Hampshire, Test Valley and Winchester.

The reason this is important is that in the Partnership area there is a net gap in housing supply of circa 11,000 homes. Winchester is the only authority in the Partnership significantly over delivering against its supply of housing in the plan period and therefore it is likely we will be asked to over deliver homes in our area to support other authorities. Is that why the administration is not prepared to take sites like Royaldown and Micheldever Station off the table?

Why are we allowing the Partnership for South Hampshire to drive the discussion around potential Strategic Development Opportunity areas? In forming this strategy there is no dialogue with our residents because there is no requirement on the Partnership to formally consult the public. Where is the engagement with the parish and town councils in this discussion or are we about to exclude our residents from the important and plan shaping decisions once more? We are told if the joint strategy is to be adopted the administration will come back to us. I hope this will be the case, but in the meantime ‘Beware the Trojan Horse’.

Caroline Horrill,

Leader of the Conservative Group,

Winchester City Council,