City of Winchester Trust
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SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY

DRAFT LOCAL PLAN

PREFERRED OPTIONS – PUBLIC CONSULTATION 2nd September to 28 October 2015

COMMENTS FROM CITY OF WINCHESTER TRUST

The Trust, formed in 1957, and currently with about 500 members, seeks to conserve the character of the City of Winchester and the surrounding area which is part of the setting of the city.

The boundary of the South Downs National Park (SDNP) comes into the eastern side of Winchester, to the north at Winnall Moors and to the south in the water meadows around Winchester College and St Cross. The SDNP with the chalk valley of the River Itchen and the open downland with St Catherine’s Hill, provides an important historic and valued landscape setting for Winchester. The Trust’s comments are therefore mainly made in the context of these important features which the Trust wishes to see conserved and enhanced.

Safeguarding Views. Paragraphs 5.40-5.51

These comments are made without the benefit of seeing the contents of a ‘Viewshed Characterisation Study (paragraph 5.41) which identified 80 views. This document did not seem to be available to view on line.

As the setting of Winchester to the East is on the boundary of the National Park it is important that the policies in the Local Plans of both the National Park and Winchester City Council complement and support one another in protecting the views from the National Park, particularly St Catherine’s Hill, towards Winchester and Bushfield Down and the views in the other direction from Winchester and Bushfield Down towards St Catherine’s Hill and any other land within the National Park.

The Trust is therefore supportive of the following statements with additional comments from the Trust.

1. In para 1.10 of the draft plan that ‘The policies have been formulated having regard to the requirements to consider landscape first. (p 6).

2. That the SDNP is committed to the ‘Duty to Co-operate’ with adjoining local plan authorities, as set out in para 1.22, and to achieving compatible and mutually supportive cross boundary policies. It is important that this co-operation is achieved in protecting the views between Winchester and its setting and the National Park.

3. That the SDNPA will work in partnership with other local authorities to ensure that development outside of the National Park does not have a detrimental impact on the National Park’s setting in paragraph 4.5. With the allocation as a site for employment of the former camp area (Bushfield Camp) on Bushfield Down by Winchester City Council in its Local Plan Part it is important that there is no adverse impact from any development of Bushfield Camp on views from St Catherine’s Hill.

To highlight the potential impact on views from the SDNP caused by any sites near the boundary of the NP allocated for development in local plans of adjoining local planning authorities the Trust RECOMMENDS these sites, including Bushfield Camp, are identified and listed in the local plan.

Sustainable development and densities

The Local Plan in policy SD1 states the importance of supporting and delivering sustainable development as required by the NPPF. Making effective use of land and delivering well designed higher density development is one of the characteristics of sustainable development. However the Trust notes there is no policy in the local plan , in the Housing policy SD22 or elsewhere, requiring effective use of land by encouraging higher densities.

The Trust as a general principle supports higher density development within Winchester and RECOMMENDS the SDNP to have such a policy in their local plan to avoid more land being taken for development than is necessary to meet development needs. Well designed higher density development should be encouraged for development on both brownfield and greenfield land.