Winchester has almost no local representation. The skewed electoral set-up of the Winchester District Council has meant that, for the last several years, all the main decisions about the City of Winchester have been taken by councillors who live in and are elected in wards outside the city. The Cabinet system in particular ensures that a small clique feels no need at all to consider the views of people within the city. The arrogance with which Barton Farm and Bushfield Down have been disposed or with which ‘bright idea’ schemes have been dreamt up for River Park, the Cattle Market and Silver Hill, without meaningful reference to the people affected by the decisions, has been breath-taking.
Other parts of Winchester District have parish councils with budgets. Winchester does have something called a Town Forum consisting of the District Councillors for the Winchester City wards, but this has no real power (especially in planning matters) and no real budget responsibility. We believe that Winchester should have an elected Town Council with real powers in development planning as well as control of real budget.