City of Winchester Trust
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STATION APPROACH - APPOINTMENT OF DESIGNER

At a Cabinet meeting on 15th July, speaking for the Trust, Michael Carden made the following statement. The statement was circulated to all councillors by the Deputy Leader, and on 20th July at a full Council meeting, after much debate, it was eventually voted (19-16) that no appointment should be made at this time.

1. Non-compliance with the Brief

The Trust repeats its previous assertion that neither of the submitted schemes complies with the Brief as regards its urban design requirements, and that if (to quote advice given to you) you cannot 'mess with the Brief' in terms of accommodation requirements, etc., neither can you mess with the urban design requirements. So some things have to change unless you are to start again. [See examples at the end]

2. Non-compliance with LPP2

There are instances in both schemes of failure to comply with polices in LPP2, jeopardising the chances of obtaining planning approval unless changes are made. [See examples at end]

3. Necessary changes

If what we now have is described as a "concept design" it follows, in the nature of concepts, that it is subject to change. Moreover, if as we have repeatedly been told, the object of the competition was to choose an architect not a design, how can it be that the design cannot now be changed. Something is amiss with the legal advice you are receiving.

4. Legal Advice

The original legal advice was no doubt given with the best of intentions, but it has led to various problems and, in particular, the way in which the application of confidentiality rules - intended to preserve the integrity of competing schemes until the Jury reported to Cabinet - have become distorted so that the Jury has been prevented from speaking to Cabinet (even in confidence) after submitting its report.


5. Frost-Marston Report

The RIBA Client Adviser Review that you recently commissioned, also advocates changes, and is admirable as far as it goes, but it only addresses the need for architectural changes. It is not only aspects of the architecture of the scheme that makes it presently unacceptable to both Jury and Scrutiny Committee (not to mention the Trust and others); it is just as much the failure to address the traffic problems of the area, so that the Carfax site is to remain a huge and busy roundabout (part of it a residential street with implications for air quality), making it impossible to alleviate the problems of the Carfax junction, or to create a safe and attractive environment in the station forecourt area for pedestrians and cyclists - as required by the Brief. These problems are exacerbated by excess parking that is concentrated within the roundabout with vehicle access from the residential street.

6. Trust suggestions

(a) May we respectfully suggest that the best procedure would now be to re-programme the project to permit time for a proper traffic and movement study to be carried out, followed by expert opinion on how best to modify the traffic and parking proposals in the same way that you have commissioned an expert architectural opinion. The scheme could then be changed to introduce both traffic and architectural improvements. A judicious pause now would be a great deal safer than ploughing ahead with a flawed process that is almost bound to lead to further and greater problems.

(b) We also advise that in future the Council consult the RIBA about competitions before taking legal advice. The Institute has long and extensive experience of running all manner of competitions to suit client requirements, and can provide numerous examples of competitions with highly successful outcomes, and LA clients willing to discuss how these were achieved.

SOME EXAMPLES

Urban design requirements in the Brief that have not been met:
"...reflecting the character and heritage of the city"
"...demonstrate how improvements to the public realm ... can improve accessibility and create a strong sense of arrival in the city..."
"...a distinctive local character respecting the best of the neighbouring areas, and improvement in connectivity between the emerging suburb of Barton Farm, the historic area of Hyde, the station and the town centre."
"...a public realm strategy considering issues such as walking and cycling routes, access to public transport..."
"...which should respect and be complementary to the adjacent townscape..."
"...demonstrate a high standard of architectural, highway and landscape design, in harmony with the existing character of Winchester..."
"...improving the interchange facilities between train, bus and taxi services..."
"... reduce traffic flow across the (Carfax) junction."
" Have regard to the existing Hampshire Record Office and the Station building..."

Non-compliance with LPP2 policies:
DM 13 - "... on sites occupied by major landowners/users will be permitted where...long-term masterplans have been prepared..."
DM 14 - "...should respect the qualities, features and characteristics that contribute to the distinctiveness of the local area...will be permitted where they conserve or enhance: the landscape and townscape framework including the 'key characteristics' identified in the local Character Assessments and adopted Design Statements..."
DM 15 - "...will be permitted provide it: responds positively to the character, appearance and variety of the local environment, within and surrounding the site, in terms of its design, scale and layout..."
DM 16 - "does not have an unacceptable adverse impact...by being overbearing"

The City of Winchester Trust, 14th July 2016