City of Winchester Trust
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Chairman's Jottings - TrustNews Jun 18

As I am sure everyone knows by now, there are three major sites in Winchester that are under consideration with different architectural firms appointed for each. All three are progressing towards a presentation standard where content, layout and building design will be arrived at for consideration.

Over-arching all these schemes is a study which covers vehicles, bicycling and pedestrian movement in and around the City. It has always seemed odd to the Trust that such a strategic study is running well behind the planning of these major multi-million pound schemes, all of which will have a major impact on the City centre by multiplying people movement.

The two inner City schemes are tough appointments for anybody to take on, i.e. marrying the conflicting requirements of a commercial and cultural scheme against a background of various expectations and a fast moving and evolving technological world where shops are under severe economic pressure with nobody knowing precisely what this scheme is likely to look like, even in the near future. The traditional office is also becoming questionable with many firms opting for more flexible arrangements for their staff. These building types have traditionally provided the economic drive for any city or town, now they are being questioned, so what do authorities put in place to provide the finance to meet peoples expectations? l suppose at the very least, buildings should be made as flexible as possible so that they can change to accommodate a variety of uses.

The three site proposals that are currently under way are as follows:-

Leisure Centre at Bar End

Presentations have taken place with the last one just completed. The proposed development is well advanced and not far short of a planning application standard. There is a well considered landscape proposal that compliments the building and is designed to help settle this large development into its surroundings. There is a great deal to consider and understand and we hope to get the architects concerned to give a presentation to the Trust.

Station Approach - Development Ideas

What has been presented so far is at an early stage. The design team has certainly understood the problems of the two sites and have recognised the challenge of linking new development to central Winchester as well as proposing ideas that are economically viable but at the same time recognising the scale has to relate its surroundings. Car parking and vehicle circulation around the site is seen as a major problem and the debate is likely to be on-going as to how to deal with parking and circulation.

Central Area (Silver Hill)

Much of the time since February has been taken up with collecting and evaluating comments submitted for consideration towards the preparation of the draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). A review of the consultation process was discussed at an open meeting on 14th May; it is hoped that some of the comments supporting the vision and objectives submitted will be incorporated into the draft SPD. Comments and changes so far are in general terms. It is hoped to complete the final SPD by 20th June, so it will be very interesting to see what the conclusion is. The completed document will then become a major part of a brief towards employing an architectural team to develop a proposal for the area. The completed draft SPD framework document presentation date is due out shortly.

Conservation Area - Historic Buildings Update

We recently had a meeting with Louise Dandy, one of the local authority's Conservation Officers concerned with preparing an audit of listed buildings within the conservation area. The proposal is to update and evaluate the historic buildings, and area characteristics, neither of which has not been undertaken for many years.

This is a huge job, and the idea is to harness local interest groups to help. There would be some training required, not only to understand the procedure but also to be able to photograph buildings and the relevant details that are important to a building. The programme is likely to start in October this year. Is there any Trust member who would be interested in taking part? - if so, please let us know by e-mailing or writing to the Trust Secretary.

Keith Leaman