COULD a major scheme to convert South Winchester Golf Club into homes be on its way?

Residents and campaigners believe it could be after seeing "mystery contractors" on the land over the past few weeks.

This comes after the city council's recent Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) concluded that the site has enough space for 1,071 houses.

Now, Save South Winchester Campaign Group, which is also battling the Royaldown scheme, is stepping in.

Member Constance Leach said: "This is our chance to tell Winchester City Council what we think about land use, housing needs and places for development until 2038.

“Let’s send a clear message that there is a much better way to deliver the required housing than in the countryside to the south west of Winchester.”

Concerned residents have been taking to social media to share information. A site map naming Bloor Homes Southern as the client was photographed and shared online.

The leaked Bloor Homes investigation map

The leaked Bloor Homes investigation map

In 2019, Bloor Homes developed Basingstoke Golf Course into homes.

One local resident was told by the contractors that the work was for the Environment Agency, but when the Chronicle checked, the agency denied any knowledge of this.

In a letter to members, general manager Roger Tomey said the contractors are from a property specialist to establish the site's suitability for future development.

It said: "As you may be aware, Winchester City Council are currently undergoing a strategic local planning consultation and, as with many golf clubs, South Winchester Golf Club, alongside Royal Winchester Golf Club has been identified as a possible site for housing in Winchester at some time in the future.

"This planning consultation will look at housing needs and land supply in and around the city for up to 30 years into the future. In conjunction with this process there is a survey being undertaken at the club by a property specialist this week, to establish the site’s suitability for future development.

"It is being conducted now, during the government’s Covid closure, so that there is no disruption to golf. Unfortunately this work has attracted some speculation, which I feel it is important to address. South Winchester Golf Club is and remains a key club within the Crown Golf Group, one of the longest established golf club operators in the UK.

"Regardless of the outcome of the public consultation or surveys, you should be aware that the land at South Winchester golf course is subject to a deed of covenant in favour of the members, ensuring it remains as a golf club until at least 2026. This prohibits any development and is a highly unusual degree of protection for the course."

The Chronicle has contacted both Bloor Homes and South Winchester Golf Course to make further enquiries.