Residents attend Abbotts Barton Consultation Event

Over 180 residents attended a community planning event in Abbots Barton last week to discuss the proposed development of new council housing in the area.

The event was facilitated by local architects, with the aim of engaging with local residents to find out which areas are most used, and which areas are preferred for development. Although there are no firm plans at the moment, it is likely that no more than 30-60 homes would be built in Abbotts Barton.

Cllr Ian Tait, Portfolio Holder for New Homes Delivery said, “I was very heartened by the excellent response of local residents to attend the Public Consultation Event and feel that a lot of very useful information was collected. People were very keen to engage with the officers and made some particularly helpful and interesting comments. I also felt that the very constructive approach of the Abbotts Barton Action Group helped make the event a true success”.

There is a serious shortage of affordable housing in Winchester, with demand massively outstripping supply. 3400 people are currently on the housing waiting list, with 100 more registering every month. As a result Winchester City Council needs to build more affordable housing and new Council houses are part of that.

The problems facing local people is that average house prices are over £350,000 in Winchester town area, with an income of over £60,000 required to gain a mortgage for a two bed roomed property. Private rented accommodation is also becoming unaffordable. In November 2011, only 16% of the 78 properties for private rent available in Winchester are affordable for households on low incomes.

Following on from the consultation event, suitable sites will be chosen to take forward the development of some council housing. Local residents will be kept informed in the next few months with an update on the project and the outcomes from the consultation event.

Once the sites have been identified, the architects will begin to look at proposed plans for the chosen sites. A further consultation event will be held in the near future to involve local residents and give an opportunity for feedback on the proposals.