Winchester civic chiefs allow new Silver Hill plans to be submitted

Cross Keys Square looking north towards Friarsgate

Cross Keys Square looking north towards Friarsgate

First published in News Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

WINCHESTER civic chiefs early today (FRI) allowed a developer to apply for controversial changes to a £150m Silver Hill development.

More than 150 people packed into a room at the Guildhall yesterday evening, forcing the city council Cabinet to move the meeting to the building’s conference chamber and delay the start for 30 minutes.

After six hours, at around 1am this morning, the Cabinet agreed to let Henderson apply for permission for a new scheme.

Developer Henderson wants to alter a scheme that originally got planning permission in 2009.

Henderson proposes to scrap plans for a bus station and offices, cut the number of flats from 307 to 184 and remove any social housing, provide more shops as well as reduce the number of public car parking spaces from 330 to 279.

The opponents fear Silver Hill will ruin Winchester, sucking life from the High Street and at up to seven-storeys high looming over the city centre.

Hugh Petter, a local architect, told the meeting: “It’s a mystery how Silver Hill got permission in the first place.

“The proposed scale is just too big. It will transform the character of Winchester.”

Council leader Rob Humby said the revisions included lowering the height of the scheme, introducing better materials and introducing more public spaces.

He said: “This represents a very good deal for Winchester. It will support the high street, protect the town centre, and not harm it.”

A planning application is due to be made in the autumn. Building work could start as soon as early 2015.

See more in next week's Hampshire Chronicle.

 

Comments (1)

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10:30am Fri 11 Jul 14

rachelem says...

I was at the meeting and heard the far from incisive questions put by the Cabinet members to the officers following the O & S on Monday. All the questions conveyed, was the fundamental lack of understanding of what is happening here and the completely missed opportunity. Instead heads remained firmly buried in the sand. Not a single one of Councillor Gottlieb's very real concerns was put to the officers to answer. Rather a flaccid series of muddled reassurances were sought by members on parking, social housing, mass and height, transport, the bus station and so on with muddled, contradictory and unchallenged answers outlining concepts such as rough strategies, questionable viability, dubious benefit to independent retailers, woefully insufficient parking and half baked transport solutions for all. Competence and expertise? No-one could provide even a properly functioning microphone. The entire scheme seems to be predicated on a) making Winchester a shopping destination with homogenous benchmark shops to draw in visitors from outside and b) offering city centre downsizing opportunities for high end out of town house sellers. Residents be damned. Those needing affordable city centre houses be damned too. Equally Winchester's heritage be damned. And who is this great mystery retail anchor store that will bring such great fortunes to the wider economy? Geese and golden eggs spring to mind but hey-ho, in the words of Cllr Humby apparently 'This represents a good deal for Winchester.... and not harm it'. Best consideration? Really?
I was at the meeting and heard the far from incisive questions put by the Cabinet members to the officers following the O & S on Monday. All the questions conveyed, was the fundamental lack of understanding of what is happening here and the completely missed opportunity. Instead heads remained firmly buried in the sand. Not a single one of Councillor Gottlieb's very real concerns was put to the officers to answer. Rather a flaccid series of muddled reassurances were sought by members on parking, social housing, mass and height, transport, the bus station and so on with muddled, contradictory and unchallenged answers outlining concepts such as rough strategies, questionable viability, dubious benefit to independent retailers, woefully insufficient parking and half baked transport solutions for all. Competence and expertise? No-one could provide even a properly functioning microphone. The entire scheme seems to be predicated on a) making Winchester a shopping destination with homogenous benchmark shops to draw in visitors from outside and b) offering city centre downsizing opportunities for high end out of town house sellers. Residents be damned. Those needing affordable city centre houses be damned too. Equally Winchester's heritage be damned. And who is this great mystery retail anchor store that will bring such great fortunes to the wider economy? Geese and golden eggs spring to mind but hey-ho, in the words of Cllr Humby apparently 'This represents a good deal for Winchester.... and not harm it'. Best consideration? Really? rachelem
  • Score: 9

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