IT IS the biggest estate of high-rise flats in the district – and it is about to get bigger.

Plans to build two new blocks at Winnall Flats have been approved by Winchester City Council's planning committee.

They will offer 76 new homes, with 32 shared ownership properties in one five-storey block, split into 18 two-bedroom apartments and 14 one-bedroom units.

In the second block, also five storeys, there will be 41 sub market one-bedroom units to rent.

The plans submitted by Debbie Rhodes, housing development and strategy manager at Winchester City Council, saw 15 objections.

Speaking at the committee on May 26, Winnall Flats resident Brian Pitts said: "What my greatest worry is, although the suggestions put forward aren't all bad and I'm not against affordable housing, is it will become an annexe for the problems that already happen in the existing blocks.

"I bought a flat and over the last years and years, I've seen deterioration of the present four blocks increase. I know money is short, but the blocks were originally designed for married couples with no kids, no pets and the style of flats were for a certain age, and had security.

"It's just the standards have deteriorated. I wish it would've been kept as it was, some sort of sheltered housing."

The proposals also include three two-storey dwelling houses to the east of the site, all two bedrooms.

Former Labour city councillor Patrick Davies said he was concerned the estate was becoming overcrowded.

He said: "You're piling flats into an area with the tallest flats in the district. The idea seems to be abandoning any other sort of development in the area an I can't understand why it all has to be concentrated there."

But speaking on behalf of the supporters of the scheme, an agent said it will benefit new and existing residents.

"The project has been worked on for four years with the council's new homes team to deliver much-needed affordable housing, and it will benefit existing and new residents in terms of high quality landscaping and amenities across the site," he said.

"Following a detailed site analysis, it was found the best spaces and views into the site are dominated by roads and car parking. Many nice spaces are overshadowed by the existing blocks.

"The proposals make several key moves to improve the area."

Pedestrian routes will also be improved by the scheme.

The plans were granted unanimously by the eight planning committee councillors, subject to a handful of conditions which can be viewed on the city council's planning portal.