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The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has dismissed controversial plans to build 2,000 houses on land near Winchester.
Developers, Cala Homes, want to build 2,000 houses on the Barton Farm site to the north of the city, but they were told it can only happen if the City Council agrees to it.
The Secretary of State supported his Planning Inspector's conclusion that there were no overriding issues with the site itself which justified refusal. Instead, he has said that any decision by him would undermine Winchester's own ability to plan for their future. He has therefore concluded that the matter must be decided locally. This supports the Council's original refusal on the grounds that it was premature.
The decision will now depend on the Council completing its Local Development Framework (LDF) which looks at sites which will provide for essential growth over the next 20 years. The Council has made significant progress in considering what development is needed and where. It will need to consider carefully the implications of the Secretary of State's decision.
Cllr George Beckett, Leader of the City Council commented:
"We are pleased the Secretary of State upheld our arguments made at the appeal. He is quite right that this should be a local decision. However, there will now be some challenging questions for Winchester. We must recognise that the Inspector's report recommended approving the application. While the Secretary of State has commended our approach, he has set Winchester the challenge of making the difficult decisions on necessary growth at a local level."