City of Winchester Trust
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Chairman's Miscellany - TrustNews Feb 2005

A recent meeting of the Town Forum addressed the City Council's Draft Air Quality Action Plan and, predictably, the discussion centred on matters of traffic congestion, parking and possible solutions of the problems. Long-time residents experienced a sense of deja vu as they listened to oft-rehearsed possible solutions that have never been implemented. The Trust has responded to the questionnaire and added some suggestions but we wonder if the next decade will see any action.

The Trust welcomed recommendations contained in the draft final report on Signage and Interpretation at Peninsula Barracks. When implemented, they should benefit the residents within the site as well as the wider community and visitors. The sooner this can be done, the better, and we hope that the Military Museums and Local Authorities will fund the project with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund as suggested in the report.

For some time now your Council has been concerned by the failure of the City Council to invest in the necessary design expertise that Winchester deserves. Since the announcement of the departure of Robin Cooper, as Director of Development, we have learned that his post will not be retained and that Planning will be amalgamated with all the other functions of the council except Finance, Legal Services and Housing (Landlord) under one Director. We understand that the job description for the holder of this post will not require any planning or design experience. At the same time the Government is calling for Planning to have a higher profile and for design to have a dominant role in providing sustainable development. Whilst we support efforts to improve efficiency, these should not be at the expense of the quality of our built environment and we are urging the Council to appoint someone with the necessary skills and experience to head the Planning service.

Councillors tend to respond to your views - please help the future of Winchester by writing to them or to Simon Eden, Chief Executive, on this subject. Letters can be addressed to Councillors at the Council Offices, Colebrook Street, Winchester S023 9LJ

Patricia Edwards