Residents in the Stanmore area of Winchester are raising concerns over council plans to build new homes.

A leaflet showing where the council may be prepared to see new developments has been distributed to householders.

The leaflet is part of a "community planning exercise", costing the city council £185,000, which they hope to recoup from developers.

Residents believe some of the sites identified are inappropriate for housing.

One proposal would see half of the recreation ground between Cromwell Road and Stuart Crescent being turned over to the bulldozers.

Ivan Byrne, 65, a retired county council employee, owns a house in Cromwell Road backing onto the threatened field.

Said Mr Byrne: "If this scheme goes any further I'll be getting up a petition of people who live beside the recreation ground. It's been here since 1922, so why should we alter it?"

A few hundred yards away, residents are concerned about plans to build on grassland at both ends of The Valley.

Mark Fletcher, 47, works as a nurse and owns a house in Thurmond Crescent, which overlooks The Valley.

"When the architects designed this crescent, they did so with the wonderful view in mind.

"The Valley is a real asset, and if we build there, it will be lost forever."

Some residents have found the map of Stanmore on the council leaflet confusing. This was the case with retired couple George and Daphne Pope, who rent a council house in Thurmond Crescent.

Said Mr Pope: "It wouldn't be so bad if they put some street names on the map.

"I don't think we'll have a say on the matter anyway. Once the council makes up its mind, that's it."

Mrs Pope added: "I've been here 40 years, and when the council built new houses next to us a few years ago I felt I had no rights."

Mick Roshier, 39, a roofer, lives in Birch Court, the affordable housing built beside Mr and Mrs Pope's home.

"The bit of The Valley the council is leaving alone is just a bank. The kids can't kick a ball on it, or if they did, it would be a pretty one-sided game," he said.

City council executive member for housing, Dominic Hiscock, feels there is a "crucial" need for affordable housing in Winchester.

"We have a vast gap between housing need and housing availability in this city.

"It's important to us that we find some way of bridging this gap for people who do not have somewhere warm, comfortable and safe to live," he said.

n An exhibition for Stanmore residents by council contractors, John Thompson & Partners, will be held at the community centre in Somers Close, Stanmore, from 6.30 to 8pm on Tuesday, January 28th.