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Planning Matters

Since the Society’s inception in 1986 we have taken an active role in local planning issues. Trustees and members of the Society were also actively involved in the Neighbourhood Plan put together by the Parish Council in 2013-2015 and in the subsequent Bishops Waltham Village Design Statement published in 2016.


Over recent years, the Society has responded to the following Planning Applications and consultations. To read our correspondence in each instance just 'click' on the blue link:

Land North of Rareridge Lane – WCC Policy BW4. Winchester City Council is currently working on a new Local Plan for housing development and this has included consultation with the public.


For the current Local Plan, under which the recent housing developments across the town have taken place, was the result of great deal of consultation, conducted among residents, by the Parish council in a project led by Robert Shields. The first four areas chosen for development in the Council’s Neighbourhood Plan (referred to above) have now been started or completed, so the fifth area was an obvious choice for the next phase of planning.


However the intervening years have seen the interest in the need to protect biodiversity grow exponentially. So, prompted by a number of members, the Society objected to the use of this land – the wooded area behind Rareridge Lane – without a proper assessment of the implications for biodiversity of building 100 houses on the site. Our submission to WCC can be read here.

Abbey Mill, application no. 17/02075/FUL – This was the site bought by Sainsbury’s in 2008 and the subject of their subsequent planning application to build a superstore on the site. These plans were opposed by the Society and were the subject of a long running opposition campaign by Bishop’s Waltham Action Group (a voluntary body) that organised over 2,000 letters of objection. The plans were approved (but only by the Planning Committee’s Chairman’s second, casting vote) in 2011. Over the period the economics of building superstores had changed and Sainsbury’s never started building the store.


In 2017 Beechcroft applied for planning permission for the “demolition of the Mill Building and construction of a 66 bed Care Home, 39 Assisted Living Units, 19 family houses and 12 affordable homes”. The Society immediately opposed the planned demolition of the Abbey Mill building and then raised further objections.


On 20th September 2017 we objected in a detailed 9-page document to this proposed demolition.


On 6th October 2017 we commented on the extraordinary situation that Sainsbury’s were not allowing Beechcroft access to the Mill!


On 9th October 2017 we objected to many of the details of the proposed plan, in particular the height of some of the building (4 storeys), because they conflicted with the local design statement.


On 2nd July 2018 we expressed our delight that in revised plans Beechcroft would retain Abbey Mill but went on to reiterate our concerns on various other aspects of the new plans  


When planning permission was granted in 2022 it was clear the Mill building would to be retained – a satisfying outcome for the extensive arguments we (alone) made on 20th September 2017, some 5 years earlier.  

Albany Farm application no. 18/00254/REM - welcome for some elements of scheme but many objections, dated 27th March 2018.

Ashton Close, 20/00434/TPO was an application to remove a large, old oak tree in Ashton Close. The Society objected strongly because it is the only significant tree in Ashton Close and as such softens the landscape and forms a major focal point. Its loss would have had a severe detrimental effect on the local visual aspect. The application was refused in 2020.


Coppice Hill, Phase 2, application no. 17/03237/FUL - welcome to revisions and two suggestions for further improvement, dated 8th February 2018.


Locks Farm Standby Generator, application no. 18/01337/FUL - an objection on the precautionary principle dated 3rd August. A second letter that questioned the accuracy of some the information supplied by the developer’s agent was sent dated 10th August 2018 and after many changes to the original plans the Society sent a third letter confirming its continued opposition (dated 16th April 2019).

Locks Farm Solar Farm, application no. 21/01391/FUL. Theoretically and at face value a "good idea". But the Society has strongly objected to it after much consideration. South Downs National Park, Campaign for Rural England (CPRE), Shedfield and Bishop's Waltham Parish Councils and Bishop's Waltham Museum Trust also opposed it at the time. A further letter was sent on 12th September 2022 strongly objecting to the potential dangers of the Lithium batteries to be used for electricity storage and in particular the dangers of toxic gases being released that, given the prevailing winds, put the centre of Bishop's Waltham at risk. We were pleased that a short while afterwards the battery elements of the plan were removed from the application.


Malt Lane development, application no. 18/00170/FUL - a mixture of support for some features with reservations about others dated 5th March. This was followed by an extended, 4-page letter with appendices about the archaeological potential of the site, dated 16th March 2018. Just over a year later, in July 2019, Tracy Matthews, Historic Environment (Archaeology) Officer at Winchester City Council, made a consultee comment about the importance of the site that referred to our year-old submission. This planning application was refused by WCC in July 2019.

A new application for Malt Lane was submitted in February 2021 (21/00359/FUL) and the Society wrote a letter on 18th March in support of this new plan, though we also voiced some remaining reservations. We also wrote separately, on the same date, making the case for a full archaeological excavation of the site.


Postmead, Shore Lane, application no. 17/01723/FUL - continued objection to revised plans for a large block of retirement homes on the edge of the town, dated 16th April. Subsequently representation to the Planning Inspectorate regarding the Appeal by Churchill Retirement Homes against the planning authority’s refusal of this application. The Appeal was refused.


Postmead, Shore Lane, new application no. 18/01654/FUL - continuing objections , as before, dated 10th August. This was also refused at the Planning Appeal.

Postmead, Shore Lane - a completely new application, no. 19/02153/FUL, for 7 houses. The Society wrote in support of the application.

All these, as well as previous pieces of correspondence on these applications, can be found on Winchester City Council’s planning website. A ‘Simple Search’ using the associated application number will take you to a page that enables you to click on ‘Documents’ which are then available, uploaded (usually) in date order.

For more information please email

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