Newly-built homes at Soberton and Shirrell Heath are out of keeping because Winchester planners aren't listening to what residents have to say, according to parish councillor, Sally Bradby.

She has presented the city council with a petition pointing out that she and her colleagues were not satisfied that the "extensive community consultation" they carried out in preparing a Village Design Statement was being acknowledged.

"There is widespread concern that this guidance may not be adequately taken into account within the planning process," said Mrs Bradby, who was secretary of the group that drew up the statement.

"The purpose of our VDS was to influence the way development takes place in our village," she said, challenging members and officers of the council to demonstrate how they had reflected local guidance in planning decisions.

Soberton, she pointed out, was a rural community.

Gardens and orchards that created spaces between houses were essential to the rural look of the parish.

Guidance on urban densities were not appropriate to rural areas and villagers did not want developers to "squash as many houses as they could" into an area, she said.

"One or two bungalows knocked down should not be the excuse for a lot of houses to be built on the site," she said.

Mrs Bradby added that the density problem had been exacerbated by a directive that all substantial developments should include an element of "low-cost" housing.

"A recent Newtown development has semi-detached, two-bedroomed houses built at an 'affordable' £245,000. This is not low-cost," she said.

"The gaps and the hedges are all gone. If the council really intends to enforce density guidelines across the district, then what was the point of asking us to draw up Village Design Statements in the first place?"

Paul Hoare, city councillor for Shirrell Heath, said: "Inappropriate development is not just a problem at Soberton and Shirrell Heath, but throughout the whole district. We are getting a fairly raw deal.

"There has been a development in Shirrell Heath, on the Sheriff Motors site in the High Street - a mixture of houses and flats, which is a development in a modern style that I think is totally out of character with the area.

"People in the village are mystified as to how this was ever allowed. As local councillors, we put forward the views of local people, but they are sometimes not listened to."

A city council spokesman said the petition would be discussed by the environmental performance improvement committee on Wednesday, March 12th.