City of Winchester Trust
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Chairman's Jottings - TrustNews Sept 17

Bar End Leisure Centre

As many of you will know, there have been two presentations made by Stride Treglown concerning the Leisure Centre at Bar End.

Stride Treglown are a multi-disciplinary firm who have been appointed by W.C.C. to undertake the master planning of the whole of the sports ground area at Bar End. The actual leisure centre building is the responsibility of L.A. Architecture who we understand specialise in designing the type of building required.

We consider this is a ‘gateway’ site into Winchester and therefore the overall design should be of a high standard, appropriate to the scale, massing and materials arrived at, and that the surroundings which include entrances and parking area should be appropriately landscaped. So far we have only been shown the general disposition of elements that make up the site - that is, the likely position of buildings, vehicle parking and possible access arrangements, etc.

It is good to be involved in the very early stages of planning such a site, and it does raise a number of queries which no doubt can be considered by Stride Treglown or W.C.C. as the master plan evolves.

As far as the Trust is concerned, our comments are as follows:-

1 The site is situated at the South-East corner of Winchester. The greater part of the Winchester population lives to the North and West of the City. The University, who we understand, is part investor, lies to the West. How is it anticipated that people using the venue are likely to arrive and return across the City? So far the traffic input only seems to be concerned with the immediate area.

2 We consider that landscape is an important element of the area around the Leisure Centre, however we understand that BDP Landscape Department has recently been appointed so we await with interest their conclusions.

3 How is it anticipated that cars are accommodated particularly during the day when the Park and Ride are largely filled. How do the University propose using and accessing the site. They have a ‘no car’ policy and it is a long walk if you are on a busy schedule!

4 How is it expected that the facilities are used between the hours of use during a seven day week? That is, what is the expected turnover? In the winter, no doubt lighting will be an issue - how is this going to be handled?

5 ls the W.C.C. Depot site immediately to the North likely to be included in the overall scheme?

Traffic Strategy

The H.C.C. and W.C.C. are currently undertaking a traffic strategy study for Winchester and District.

As far as we know, this is the first time such a comprehensive study has ever been commissioned and could and should be extremely important to the way in which the City evolves over the foreseeable future. We have been informed that the study is at the research stage, that is, data is being collected from around the District to understand where vehicles are coming from and going to - whether they stay or are passing through.

The research is also looking at cycling and foot passage. It is also taking place over a year so that school holidays, the Christmas Market, motorway closures, etc., can all be taken into consideration.

No doubt to reach any conclusions will take well into 2018, meanwhile there are several large schemes being planned for central Winchester, which could be affected. It does seem strange that a major strategic traffic review, to be completed sometime in the future, does not mesh in with major Winchester schemes currently being planned this year. How does this work? We have asked the question of the authorities, but received no satisfactory answer.

As already mentioned we have considered that the strategic traffic programme should be one of the most significant studies that has been commissioned. We felt it should be the subject for our A.G.M. in order to give the members an opportunity of hearing and hopefully understanding what such a study hopes to achieve.

Mr Simon Finch is going to outline the scope of the brief, as well as where the study is along the time line. He is presenting the study brief on behalf of both the City and the County Authorities.

Civic Voice Awards

Civic Voice runs a prestigious national award scheme for the best building in various categories and asks its membership to promote any worthwhile schemes within their cities and towns. This year, the City of Winchester Trust promoted the University Chapel that has recently been restored and enhanced by Design Engine. Not only did it win its category but it won the overall award as well. So, congratulations to the architects and congratulations to the University as client. As l am sure the architect will confirm, a good client is very necessary to encourage a first class result.

Trust meeting with Laura Taylor

Michael Carden and I attended a meeting with Laura Taylor, Chief Executive of Winchester City Council, in order to discuss various issues of concern which we had about potential development in Winchester as well as the way in which staffing resources were applied to each of the major jobs.

She recognised that some of the officers were spread far too thinly and that the teams somehow needed bolstering with appropriate expertise. It was also recognised that the City's public relationship was not good and that both she and Councillor Horrill were actively attempting to improve the way in which they engaged with the public over new development proposals.

We asked whether there was any proposal to replace Councillor Weston as Heritage and Design Champion now that she has retired from this position. It was stated that this would be examined. It was also stated that when considering development for Winchester, the City Council were very aware of the economic balance for the long term well being of Winchester that had to be achieved.

Finally, we discussed the transport/movement strategic study that was under way We stated our concern that such an important strategic survey was only in the research stage and would not be ready for the development proposals that were currently under way. We felt it was the sort of information that could affect the outcome of any Winchester development in a major way and should be part of a brief. Laura Taylor said that she would be giving consideration to this matter.

Keith Leaman