Plans for new housing development in Bishop’s Waltham to be decided today

Plans for a housing development in Bishop’s Waltham will retain a locally cherished historic building.

Proposals for a 66-bed care home, 38 assisted living flats, 12 affordable housing flats and 19 homes will be determined by Winchester City Council today.

The 3.7ha site lies south of the village centre and contains Duke’s Mill or Abbey Mill, a non-designated heritage asset. It was previously subject to a planning battle when Sainsbury’s wanted to build a large supermarket on the site.

Under the plans, the mill would be converted for assisted living residential use.

In their planning documents, Beechcroft Developments said: ‘The most unusual aspect of the site – in many ways its defining feature – is the high retaining wall which forms the southern face of the mediaeval dam. Set hard against this wall, with two single-aspect lower storeys, is the existing mill.’

The original development plans involved the demolition of the mill, sparking outrage from local residents and the parish council.

In their letter of objection, Bishop’s Waltham Society pointed to an opinion poll which found that 82 per cent of villagers wanted the mill to be restored.

It said: ‘Built in 1862 by Sir Arthur Helps, Queen Victoria’s Private Secretary, the Mill’s size and form quickly became an emblematic structure associated with Bishop’s Waltham for the next 70 to 100 years.

‘The fact that visitors to the town, quite apart from its residents, would have seen the mill as a central feature of the town confirms the importance of its distinct built form and its setting on the dam wall.’

Council officers have recommended granting planning permission.

Image: Ridgeway Planning