City of Winchester Trust
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Leisure Centre design Framework Meeting 18 May 2018 at Winchester Sports Stadium

Agenda for the meeting

Welcome from Councillor Guy Ashton

Strides Treglown Draft Design Framework, Key Features and Themes,Engagement (Paul (?))
Stewart Michael Associates Getting to the park (Bruce Bamber)
Cllr Guy Ashton
Winchester City Council Head of Programme Next steps
Q&A
Opportunity for informal discussion and feedback

Strides Treglown

This was more or less adhered to for the first two items. Paul from Strides Treglown explained what the design framework was and was not not a detailed planning document, just an aspirational framework for the whole area that (hopefully) might be adhered to as subsequent phases come on stream. He explained a bit why the site was chosen nearby P&R, close to cycle route 23 and access to National Park. Explained a bit about the constraints of the site (drainage issues). Also acknowledged that it is a gateway to the city and the aspiration is for it to be made impressive (but acknowledged that building the currently planned facility would not do this). The vision is for this to be as much a location for leisure as for sport. They want people to come just for the cafe (for example) or just to walk. The Centre itself is just Phase I (and the planning application will be submitted next month). The design framework does include guidelines for the building height of whatever goes on the depot site max of 12m along the northern edge and not to exceed the height of the proposed Sports and leisure Centre along the Southern edge. There is a buffer of natural vegetation along the northern boundary plus a setback to prevent obstructing light to those on Milland Road. Possible uses are restricted to those that do not generate much additional vehicle traffic or demand for parking.

Getting to the Park

The person who took all the flak and consequently ran way over time was Bruce Bamber, the person from Stewart Michael Associates. They really have not done proper homework on access to the park and there were lots of very angry people in the room (mostly, but not all from Highcliffe). The plan is to make heavy use of P&R (no acknowledgement of current issues with being able to get on those buses when not parking and punt of the problems with lack of service in the evening the bus companies will provide when they see it as commercially viable). Mention was made of access using the No.4 bus. This though is apparently only an hourly service and the Highcliffe people were up in arms about unwillingness to discuss increased frequency or extension of its route. They also had lots of parking concerns people using their permit places outside the hours when permits are required.

This was said to be the reason why the access from Milland Road is to be blocked off, with the only access being from Bar End Road. But then the local School Headmistress was not happy because that access needs to be used by her kids....

The only access is to be from Bar End Road and is planned to use a small roundabout (said to calm traffic and reduce speeds) and a zebra crossing (not light controlled) on the P&R side of it. The road to either side of the roundabout would have splitters so that pedestrians could stop in the middle. This is all hardly ideal for pedestrian access let alone cyclists who will have to dismount and fight it out with pedestrians.

The pedestrain/cyclist access from the city centre is then supposed to cross Bar End Road go toward the P&R but turn right into Barfield Close (a private Road) use the existing cut through to route 23 and proceed to the City. The cut through is supposed to be widened to 2.5m. But the standard for mixed use (two way cycle plus pedestrian) is supposed to be a minimum of 3m. The ramp currently at that cut through is not suitable for cyclists because it has a very sharp hairpin bend and is in any case not very wide.

More problematic is that continued citation of access to route 23 fails to acknowledge that route 23 comes from Basingstoke (via Winnall) and is designed to go to Southampton it does not provide access to the city and most particularly toward the north and east. I went direct to the meeting (by bike) from Micheldeveer Station via Kings Worthy. There is the appalling cycle track from Kingsworthy, which in its narrow places is less than 1m (supposedly for 2 way cycle plus pedestrian), then its it OK if slow from Dyson Drive down to the Old Leisure Centre but then your problems start. Cut through a car park to North Walls, join the one way system (horrendous on a bike when there is lots of traffic because it goes so fast) get off and go (illegally?) over the bridge to Water Lane but then have to cross at City Bridge to access route 23 (terrible and can take ages whether walking or on a bike). Only other option would be to stick with the one way system and get on to Chesil Street. The inexperienced or timid cyclist is not going to do that.

The trip down from the University would not be too bad but from Badger Farm or Weeke? (not fun).

More problematic is that to shut off complaints questions are just punted to the movement strategy saying that this is where all such issues should come up. Planning permission is to be sought within a month for the main building (about which not much was said just some very vague pictures) and the area for the permit is very narrowly drawn and will not address all those more detailed access issues.

I cannot see how they expect to get the level of usage they clearly want when they have not sorted out access. Even access by car isn't great if you are coming from the north and have to tangle with the one way system (or do a detour). If you use the train are you supposed to walk?

Guy Ashton did then manage to get a few words in about what notice the City Council had and had not taken of feedback. Mostly not included all the wish list items that people had asked for.

There was little time by then more disorganised Q&A but I had to leave.

Should the Trust be raising any concerns about access clearly this is going to be ruled out as irrelevant to the planning application.

Mary Tiles
PAG Chairman City of Winchester Trust 02/06/18