Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Winchester Silver Hill: New leader promises review

Frank Pearson Image copyright Winchester cc
Image caption Frank Pearson said he would establish an 'independent review' of Silver Hill

A replacement has been elected for a council leader who resigned over the handling of a city centre development.

Conservative leader of Winchester City Council Robert Humby quit after a judge said decisions over the £165m Silver Hill development were "unlawful".

He has been replaced by Frank Pearson, who said he would establish an "independent review" of Silver Hill.

Mr Humby stood down earlier this week, saying he "must take responsibility" for the High Court judgement.

A judge said the council had acted unlawfully on 11 February by allowing the developer to revise the Silver Hill plans without putting the scheme back out to commercial tender.

Campaigners brought the legal action, claiming the development would destroy the historical character of the city centre.

The Liberal Democrat group had been planning a motion of no confidence in the leader at Thursday's full council meeting.

Retired teacher Mr Pearson said he would bring a "fresh approach" to the role.

"I will listen to residents' voices - which we must recognise can be contradictory - and seek to restore their faith in us.

"I am looking to all parties to adopt a co-operative approach so that we can move forward in a way that is best for Winchester," he said.

The Conservatives are the largest single party on the council and form the administration, although no party has overall control.

Image caption Councillor Robert Humby told the BBC earlier in February he would not stand down over the matter
Image copyright Winchester City Council
Image caption The planned Silver Hill development has been criticised by campaigners

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