Central Winchester Regeneration
Progress on the redevelopment of the centre of Winchester (known now as Central Winchester Regeneration) seems to have stalled. The Trust was disappointed in the final version of the Supplementary Planning Document that was approved by the City Council, which we feel is weaker than the original draft. The City Council now seems to be concentrating on taking forward work on issues that need addressing now, and has set up three advisory panels on the renovation of Coitbury House, so-called meanwhile (ie temporary) issues and Lower High Street/Broadway. The Trust is represented on all three panels.
The Trust has submitted a formal objection to the City Council’s outline planning application for the redevelopment of the area around Winchester’s railway station. The application is for a mixed use development, with buildings up to 5 storeys above ground, office space, so-called mixed uses (such as retail, restaurant/cafe, bar and leisure) and up to 135 car parking spaces. The old registry office will be retained and refurbished.
The Trust welcomes the decision to keep the old registry office, and is also pleased to see that the need for active frontages is recognised along with the needs of pedestrians. We recognise that the scheme is an improvement over that which was previously proposed and that interesting architectural features are included.
However, the fact remains that the overarching problem is that too much is being demanded of the site, leaving the architects with the impossible task of trying to meet these demands while also producing buildings which will fit the context. We have seen no financial justification for the considerable increase in the number of square metres of office space planned over that which is set out in previous WCC development/ design briefs, some of which covered both this site and the Cattle Market site.
The Trust has identified problems with the following aspects of the scheme:
The number of car parking spaces
The scale of the buildings and their impact on the area
The appropriateness/overall impression as an important gateway to Winchester
Plans for pedestrian routes, cycle provision and public realm (including removal of trees)
The management of traffic flow in the station forecourt and surrounding streets
Click here to read our objection in full.
leisure centre, bar end
The planning application for the new leisure centre at Bar End was approved in October 2018. Although the Trust did not object to the proposal, it did have concerns over car parking and access to the centre using all forms of transport. The carpark siting was disliked because of the loss of amenity land, especially in view of the possibility of extending the St Catherine's Park & Ride site.
Transport to the Centre is a major concern; the lack of an adequate overall transport scheme is a cause of particular concern because of the consequent likelihood of increased car use. This flies in the face of the expressed aim of the City's Movement Strategy to reduce vehicular traffic through Winchester.
Information about proposed pedestrian and cycle routes from various parts of the city, and details of a frequent bus service to this edge-of-town location - especially at weekends and in the evenings - were all lacking in the application, and we were disappointed that permission was granted before this important aspect had been resolved.
The City Council hopes to start construction soon.