City of Winchester Trust
  • kingalf
  • cathedral
  • roundtable
  • westgate
  • guildhall
  • wolsey
  • stcross
  • library

City of Winchester Trust statement at Scrutiny and Cabinet meetings 17.10 and 19.10.16

The Trust is very pleased that consultation with the RIBA appears to have been productive - may we know who was at the meeting and how they feel it went?

As far as we can understand the outcome from the report before you, the proposals look very promising, but we hope we might be able to have a meeting with the Leader and the Assistant Director of Estates to seek reassurance about two important concerns:

1. Although they were commendable many of the original Brief's provisions, regarding urban design in the Winchester context, were ignored in the outcome - as this applied to both contestants, these provisions must have become sidelined in the dialogue process. The urban design requirements now need to be strictly observed, possibly enhanced.

2. We have consistently urged that certain aspects of the Brief needed to be changed:
a) the prescriptive capacity requirements that proved to be too ambitious, with disastrous consequences for height, density and relationships with other buildings;
b) the absence of research and strategic thinking about traffic, movement and parking that prevented any chance of a successful public realm.

We believe that the balance between urban design and economics in the City Council's skills and experience led to an unbalanced brief and procurement process, with the inevitable result that the architectural solutions were similarly unbalanced, and consequently unacceptable for Winchester - as opposed, perhaps, to Basingstoke or Southampton.

The involvement of the RIBA, with its long experience of competitions, brief-writing and design, should correct this imbalance. But only if their advice on the balance between investment and urban design objectives are fully observed. Otherwise we shall be repeating the same mistakes and risking a similarly unacceptable outcome.

Queries and/or matters to be drawn to the attention of Cabinet :

Recommendations 2, 3, 4 - in the circumstances we are uneasy that authority should be delegated to a single senior officer without consultation with the Leader or Council. Shouldn't a councillor also be present at RIBA meetings? And shouldn't any subsequent change in the Brief be approved by the Council?

Recommendation 2.5 - what is proposed for the Cattlemarket site?

Recommendation 3.2 - access to technical advice from a RIBA Architect Adviser, this should be separate from any advice obtained from Tina Frost who cannot avoid being compromised by the previous process.

Recommendation 6 - what is the meaning of 'Equality' in this context?

Recommendation 8.9 - shouldn't the evaluation panel include your planning/urban design officer?

Appendix 3 - it would be helpful to add the grants factor (2.7) and the Transport Assessments (8.15 and 16) into the indicative timescale.

MC for CWT