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Live updates as Winchester City Council debates the issue
This live event has finished
- The discussions start!
- LIb Dem amendment for more work to save affordable housing
- Tories back Lib Dem proposal
- Cabinet will look again at social housing issue
- Generally civilised debate
After four hours of discussion, the Council unanimously accepts the recommended report - the meeting agrees that overall Silver Hill is a good scheme, but more work needs to be done on maximising the amount of affordable/social housing.
Summing up, council leader Cllr Humby said all advice is that this is "a good deal for Winchester.
"I want to reassure you, as you can see by us accepting the Learney amendment that affordable housing is a priority of this council. We all care about Winchester."
The city council needs to stand up to Henderson, the developer, says Cllr Malcolm Wright.
"We were told ten years ago if we don't agree with Thornfield (previous developer) they will pull out. If we don't agree no-one else will come along. Well Thornfield went bust and someone else came along. Thornfield were challenged and Thornfield changed their scheme. That is what should happen now."
Cllr Robert Hutchison says the Silver Hill scheme is unsatisfactory. A stronger line could have been taken on the bus station.
The balance between shops and homes was slipping in the wrong direction. Henderson want more shops and fewer homes.
"For sustainable Winchester we need more people living in the heart of Winchester and this was a golden opportunity to have more people living in the heart of Winchester."
Cllr Victoria Weston, deputy leader, disagrees: "The scheme has changed for the better since Henderson took it on. They identified shortcomings and introduced improvements."
Cllr Therese Evans criticises the Gottlieb amendment: "It implies some financial irregularity. It doesn't say it, it implies it. We have had a lot of independent advice and I can't see how this amendment will progress anything apart from delaying."
Cllr Gottlieb says he was not implying impropriety.
Cllr Godfrey says Cllr Gottlieb's amendment is "patronising to treat officers as if they don't know what they are doing and legal and financial officers that they don't know what they are doing and may have made a mistake."
Gottlieb amendment falls by 7 votes to 37.
Cllr Gottlieb says: "This is not going back to scratch, getting a fresh pair of eyes. These are huge numbers. We need to be certain we have this right. We need to know what we can afford to do."
Cllr Daryl Henry says a review, which would cost £30,000, was not needed and describes Cllr Gottlieb as "unprofessional."
Cllr Gottlieb tables amendment calling for a delay to allowing Henderson to submit a new application until completion of an external review of the scheme's finances by a firm of chartered surveyors.
Growing cross-party consensus that the scheme will be "revisited" to maximise the amount of affordable housing. Cllr Godfrey warns: "Delay increases the cost of the scheme. Imposing extra delay reduces the prospect of any contribution to affordable housing."
Council votes 54 to nil for Cllr Learney amendment on rethink on affordable housing.
Cllr Ian Tait, portfolio holder for new homes, said the 100 units originally propose were very small, with many one-bedroom flats of only 45 square metres.
Cllr Pines said the council should support the maximum number of affordable and social (for rent) housing on site. He reveals that Poundland and Iceland will probably not be in the new Silver Hill scheme. "People less well-off are not going to be well served by the development," he says.
Cllr Martin Tod says it would be better to provide affordable housing off site because more could be built.
Cllr Humby surprises the meeting by saying he is minded to accept her amendment and take the issue back to Cabinet
We're allowed back into meeting.
Cllr Learney, Lib Dem leader, has tabled an amendment calling on the Cabinet to reconsider allowing Henderson to drop affordable housing.
Council goes into secret session to discuss confidential information.
Cllr Victoria Weston, deputy leader, said Silver Hill will benefit small traders as smaller shops in the High Street will be move into bigger ones in Silver Hill.
Cllr Jamie Scott asks: "Can we be assured Silver Hill will not affect the High Street?"
Steve Tilbury, corporate director, says: "If we don't have Silver Hill, we have the requirement for retail which can only be out of town.
"If we don't do it here (Silver Hill) we will have to do it somewhere else. There is no reason Silver Hill will damage the High Street."
Why no competitive tendering for any part of the Silver Hill scheme, since 2003, asks Cllr Robert Sanders, when it ensures the council gets a good deal.
Cllr Kim Gottlieb, the main critic of Silver Hill, raises the issue of allowing Henderson not to build 100 affordable housing. "Has the council ever subsidised other developer's affordable contributions? All developers across the district will ask for the same assistance."
Cllr Fiona Mather requests reassurance that the planning process will be "robust".
Cllr Sue Nelmes says Andover is getting a new bus station. "Why is it Andover can have a new bus station and we can't? What is good enough for Andover should be good enough for Winchester.
Cllr Humby says Stagecoach does not want to operate a bus station in Winchester.
Cllrs Rutter and Green question the adequacy of the latest public consultation. "It's a confusing mosh-mash", says Cllr Rutter. "It shows a model that is 8 years old," says Cllr Green.
Cllrs Rutter and Green question the adequacy of the latest public consultation. "It's a confusing mish-mash", says Cllr Rutter. "It shows a model that is 8 years old," says Cllr Green.
Labour leader Chris Pines raises questions about the proposed bus facilities, or lack of.
Only 8 members of the public at the Council meeting at Winchester Guildhall to discuss the Silver Hill development in Winchester. There were 150 at the start of the Cabinet meeting last week; three at the end at 1.15am!
Cllr Stephen Godfrey, finance portfolio holder, says a new ring-fenced fund would be set up that could produce £7m for social housing, depending on Silver Hill profits.
Lib Dem leader Kelsie Learney raises issue of affordable housing which Henderson wants to drop. She says it costs £130,000 to build a council home in Winchester.
Council leader Rob Humby says Silver Hill is needed. But he wants to hear Council's views before giving Henderson the go-ahead to put in new application. "We have a scheme we are now preparing to improve. We have a financial package (with Henderson) that is robust and advantageous."