RESIDENTS in Stanmore, Winchester will be able to have their say on controversial proposals to demolish garages and build houses in their place.

At a meeting of the Stanmore Steering Group on Tuesday night, plans for a public consultation on proposals for 12 new affordable homes at council-owned garages in Drayton Street were discussed.

Two public meetings are set to be held in early June so as many people as possible can come and give their views on the idea.

Residents at Tuesday's meeting at the Family Church said they were concerned about the impact on children's safety if housing is built over the garages, as this will lead to more parking in the street which children currently play in.

Steering group members were also told there was a perception in Drayton Street and the surrounding area that the plans were already a "done deal".

But councillor Sheila Campbell, leader of the city council and chair of the meeting, said nothing had been decided upon yet and the consultation was to see what people thought about the idea.

"There are a lot of views that we want to hear from members of the public," she said. "This is a long process and we are taking the first tentative steps. Once we have got through feasibility and consultation and plans have been drawn up that we will get to the planning application stage when residents can object."

Anne Balmain, who lives in Drayton Street, suggested half the housing was built in nearby Fox Lane so some of the garages could be kept.

The steering group agreed to look into this idea and present alternative plans at the public consultation sessions.

Group members and residents also heard a recent survey on garages showed only half of the garages were actually used for storing vehicles.

Drayton Street was highlighted in a consultant's report to the council last year as one of six potential sites for affordable housing in Stanmore.

Dates for the public consultations, which will be held in the Family Church on Stanmore Lane, will be fixed for June and residents in Stanmore will be sent letters telling them about the consultation and when it will happen.