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

I am very pleased to take this opportunity to announce that Jeffrey Smith, a founder member and indefatigable worker for the Trust, has accepted the invitation of the Trust Council to become a Vice-President. He was one of the small band who started the Trust in 1957, at a time when the City Council was demolishing the heart of Winchester in the name of slum-clearance. Thereafter he was always at the centre of its activities holding office in various capacities and as Chairman 1976-1979 as well as organising fund-raising to support its many successes.

The Trust's most important asset is its membership and, in particular, those members who work for it in many diverse ways. Rosemary Kinaird-Smith has for many years looked after the archives with much care and skill but she recently decided to resign from the Council for health reasons. Happily, she remains a member of the Trust and has been able to pass on her knowledge of the system to John Holder, who has kindly taken on this task and brings with him many talents and great enthusiasm. Another key player is Dick Selwood who has guided us in developing computer use, acting as our guru and always responding calmly to frantic cries for help. He also set up our Membership database and our website under the auspices of Hantsnet which he has kept up to date too. Other commitments prevent him from continuing but we are immensely grateful for all he has done. At a time when Winchester is again under threat, this time because of insensitive development and failing skills and resources to cope with it, the Trust needs all the assistance and support it can muster from its members. In the last issue I referred to our concern about the impending changes to the structure of the City Council's Planning department. Events since then have not encouraged us to think differently as we see the departure of experienced staff and depleted morale trying to deal with ever increasing workloads. We continue to express these concerns to members and officers. The Vision document about which the Trust was consulted earlier in the year, has emerged as a damp squib unlikely to generate enthusiasm in any quarter.

Views on the Draft Plan for the South East were framed and despatched to SEERA (South East England Regional Assembly), the County Council and the City Council. We have received acknowledgments from the first two agencies but not from the City Council. The Trust is indebted to Harvey Cole, Jim Humberstone, David Marklew and Judith Martin, who gave of their time and expertise to assist the Policy Group in formulating the comments covering the following topics: Housing, Economy, Environment, Built & Historic Environment, Town Centres, Transport, Landscape, Implementation. All comments can be viewed on the Trust website or obtained from the Heritage Centre.

The Broadway/Friarsgate development continues to occupy a prominent place in our interests and we have recently had another meeting with Mike Capocci of Thornfield. He has again expressed his commitment to producing a scheme that will get the approval of the whole community. You will see the information about an exhibition of the architect's scheme to be held in June during Architecture Week - perhaps this is fortuitous!

It was with considerable disappointment that we learned of the decision by English Heritage to advise the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport against listing Hockley Viaduct. The Trust wrote to support an appeal against the decision but this too has been refused. The future maintenance of this structure will need to be considered seriously by its owners, Winchester City Council.

As our speaker on the evening of our next Annual General Meeting on September 26th, we have invited Ben Hamilton Baillie, a well known Urban Planner to talk about Streetscape in the hope that there will be solutions applicable to Winchester.

Patricia Edwards