BISHOP'S Waltham has to accept hundreds of new houses as part of Winchester City Council's Development Plan.

But that doesn't mean locals can't influence where they go.

A parish council meeting on Tuesday (Jan 13) heard that the Bishop’s Waltham Development Plan continues to gather pace and now, following unanimous approval from councillors, proposed sites for development will go out t public consultation.

Over the next 20 years the town will have to find space for 500 new homes, as well as the accompanying infrastructure and employment opportunities.

A year ago 40 residents, led by Cllr Robert Shields, began gathering information on housing requirements and suitable locations which will be sent to Winchester City Council as they draw up their Development Plan.

Last year the group agreed on a vision: “All new developments should be situated as close as possible to the town centre, or existing developments, in order to maintain the social ambience and vitality of Bishop's Waltham, a medieval market town within natural boundaries surrounded by farmed land.”

Cllr Shields, who heads the parish council's development plan steering group, said on Tuesday: “Let’s be clear about this: this is our plan and Winchester City council agreed to it.”

The consultation is slated for January 24 to March 7 and will include public exhibitions, presentations to community groups and online access to all Development Plan documents.