CONCERNS about the impact of the £100m Broadway-Friarsgate redevelopment in Winchester have been aired by councillors in public for the first time.

They are worried about aspects of the massive scheme which proposes 41 shops, 364 homes and a new bus station, public open spaces and doctors surgery.

The principal scrutiny committee meeting was the first time that the development has been publicly debated in detail.

Tory councillor George Beckett said: "We don't oppose this in principle but we have concerns."

A potential pitfall is that the scheme could suck the life out of the High Street bringing economic disaster to the city.

Mr Beckett said: "There will be some transfer of business from the High Street and that is acceptable.

"But there is some worry about the impact and further investigation needs to be done."

Michael Capocci, director of Thornfield Properties, said the scheme aimed to supplement the High Street and make Winchester strong enough to see off the increasing attractions of WestQuay in Southampton and Festival Place in Basingstoke. The shopping element only comprises 90,000 square feet, or the size of a single department store.

Tony Langridge, chief estates officer, said there was growing evidence that without major investment in more shops then Winchester High Street would suffer from the out-of-town competition.

Conservative councillors raised another concern that some 180 of the homes would not have parking spaces but that the residents would still bring their vehicles.

But Mr Capocci said research showed a growing number of people now lived without cars.

Councillor John Steel, former Liberal Democrat leader, said Winchester must be careful that sufficient parking is retained for people to make use of the new shops, especially as schemes such as the cultural centre on Jewry Street and new council offices on Middle Brook Street could reduce the number of parking spaces.

He said: "We don't want to find that customers don't come to the new shops because they can't find anywhere to park."

The committee's concerns will now go to Cabinet on November 3.