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Planning Coach Trip - TrustNews Dec 17

On Friday 6 October Gill Collymore and l presented ourselves in front of the Guildhall for 9:30am, ready for the tour which takes place every year and is attended by member of the planning department, city councillors, parish councillors and two members of the CWT PAG team. The idea is to look at some recent developments which are either complete or well under way. The tour started toward Southampton looking first at a development on land that has formed the playing fields for Swanmore College (they have been provided with an alternative site). We then visited a McCarthy & Stone development for the elderly in Bishops Waltham.

21a Southgate Street
21a Southgate Street

Winchester Village
Winchester Village


On returning to Winchester we stopped to look at 21a Southgate Street - this is an awkward infill site that had been empty for many years. It has now been filled by a modern building with retail space below and flats above. There was general approval of this modern design which blends into the street surprisingly well. It has very clean, simple lines but manages the differences in roof heights to either side as well and the difference set-backs from the kerb. Yellow brick has been used on the St Thomas Street (front) side and red at the rear. The black metal front door though is depressingly unwelcoming.

Winchester Village
Winchester Village

Barton Farm Phase 1
Barton Farm Phase 1

After a very good lunch in St Cross we continued to Winchester Village 200 houses, 40% affordable, many still under construction. Huw Thomas is the architect and so there is a typical mix of styles from him from small terrace cottages to very grandiose mock Georgian houses. There was considerable criticism of the name, especially as there is none of the infrastructure (church, pub, shops, school etc.) that one would associate with a village. There is a very nominal park and ride at the entrance - all very untidy at the moment. As far as could be seen none of the houses have solar panels. The overall effect was hard to determine given the amount of ongoing construction. The planners complained about problems getting compliance from the developers on all sorts of issues.

Barton Farm Phase 1
Barton Farm Phase 1

The Limes (Little Barton Farm)
The Limes (Little Barton Farm)

Then it was on to see what has been going on at Barton Farm - phase I (some built already, 50-60 currently under construction), 40% either affordable or shared ownership. This was the most depressing site we saw, with rows of regimented red brick houses on a more or less flat site which currently has no redeeming human-scale features. The houses have tiny gardens, solar water heating panels but no PV. Some of the roof tiling looked decidedly uneven. The only people who seemed to like this were the planning officers who said that the developers were easy to work with and there were few compliance issues (unlike Winchester Village). We could see the site of the new Andover Road cutting right through the planned estate and there was considerable muttering about the wisdom of this.

Finally a short hop to The Limes (Little Barton Farm) which was a little better, and a little more imaginative in terms of house design than the main Barton Farm development. The site is quite small and the layout very linear, but possibly there were few options. Eventually it will be part of the larger development. It includes some flats which are shared ownership. There is a lot of wood panelling and the light wood works quite well, whereas the dark was somewhat oppressive and the paint seemed already to be peeling off in places. Some PV was evident.

Most of the sites visited, with the exception of 21a Southgate Street, were for larger developments. What was depressing was that only in the case of that exception was there evidence of really good imaginative, problem solving design. Otherwise we seem to be continuing to build in very traditional ways. This is understandable where there is an historic context into which the new development has to fit, but with green-field sites, such as Barton Farm and Winchester Village, this seems inexcusable.

Mary Tiles, with help from Gill Collymore