Bid for Winchester's Silver Hill development gets go-ahead

Hampshire Chronicle: Major city centre development gets go ahead Major city centre development gets go ahead

THE developer has got the go-ahead to apply to revamp the £150 million Silver Hill scheme in Winchester.

After a six-hour meeting the city council Cabinet unanimously agreed in the early hours of this morning to allow developer Henderson to effectively scrap the scheme approved in 2009 and put in a new application.

The move was controversial with a last-ditch campaign by city councillor Kim Gottlieb attracting more than 150 people to the Guildhall on Thursday evening delaying the start by 30 minutes.

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.

There were so many people that the meeting was moved to the Guildhall conference chamber. By decision time at 1.15am there were only three members of the public left.

Henderson wants to scrap approved plans for a bus station and offices, cut the number of flats from 307 to 184 and remove any social housing, reduce the number of public car parking spaces from 330 to 279 but provide more private parking and shops including a department store where the bus station would have been.

Former city councillor Patrick Davies called on the council to insist provision is made for affordable housing. He said: “I don't believe Henderson will walk away if the council stick to 35 per cent affordable housing. But another developer would take it up. We need a mixed development in the centre of the city.”

But Martin Perry, retail director at Henderson, told the Daily Echo the scheme would have collapsed without the council agreeing to allow a new planning application. He said it was too late to alter the scheme with the development agreement set to expire in a few months.

Cllr Gottlieb called for an independent review to give a second opinion on the scheme.

But council leader Rob Humby said: “The due diligence is what we have been doing for the last 18 months. I don't see what there is to gain to start that process again.”

Although most of the audience was against the scheme there was some support. Prof Chris Turner, director of Winchester Business Improvement District said: “It's an interesting project. It puts flair back into the city, 35-30 new shops and exciting new spaces.”

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

The Cabinet heard that postponing or abandoning the scheme would cost money. The Friarsgate multi-storey car park, due for demolition, is deteriorating fast and must be fully closed to the public later this year.

Peter Wilks, planning consultant, said Silver Hill would fulfil a need for more shops and fend off pressure for out of town shopping centres.

Comments (4)

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3:31pm Fri 11 Jul 14

SwedeSaint says...

Effectively the green light for the ruination of an area that deserves a little more consideration than the councillors have given it. Winchester has the number of visitors because of it's character - the revised scheme will result in a negative result. When all know that Winchester needs more affordable housing, how can a scheme that reduces the number of these homes possibly be passed.
Effectively the green light for the ruination of an area that deserves a little more consideration than the councillors have given it. Winchester has the number of visitors because of it's character - the revised scheme will result in a negative result. When all know that Winchester needs more affordable housing, how can a scheme that reduces the number of these homes possibly be passed. SwedeSaint
  • Score: -1

5:30pm Fri 11 Jul 14

solomum says...

This has been in the planning for well over 20 yrs. Can hardly believe it has taken so long.
This has been in the planning for well over 20 yrs. Can hardly believe it has taken so long. solomum
  • Score: -1

5:32pm Fri 11 Jul 14

skeptik says...

Grew up in Winchester 1950s/60s it was a different than today - I could easily say that it was 'ruined' years ago, but of course it was no such thing. There were areas that were in need of modernization - the city railway station approach was a mess- a semi derelict hotel the Carfax. The Square had a wonderfully tatty bookshop and fishing tackle shop that Steptoe would have thought untidy. It is different today but more attractive to modern visitors. More folk did live in the city and would if they could revisit be in wonder at the house prices of those who still do. I note the house my father bought in the early 1960s for about 3 grand sold in recent years for 400 and some grand!
Grew up in Winchester 1950s/60s it was a different than today - I could easily say that it was 'ruined' years ago, but of course it was no such thing. There were areas that were in need of modernization - the city railway station approach was a mess- a semi derelict hotel the Carfax. The Square had a wonderfully tatty bookshop and fishing tackle shop that Steptoe would have thought untidy. It is different today but more attractive to modern visitors. More folk did live in the city and would if they could revisit be in wonder at the house prices of those who still do. I note the house my father bought in the early 1960s for about 3 grand sold in recent years for 400 and some grand! skeptik
  • Score: 4

2:15pm Sat 12 Jul 14

Dill Tart says...

The proposed development does not suite the ancient city and is not in keeping with the overall feel of historic Winchester and one can't help think 'what a shame'. Is this the best the planners could come up with? Look at the area around Maison Blanc in Jewery Street, or the new development for the restaurant at Abbey Mill, these have been completed sympathetically even though modern in design. Does anyone support the proposed 6-7 storey steel and glass development? not one person I've spoken to has supported it and if that is a common consensus that must tell WCC something isn't right with the design.
The proposed development does not suite the ancient city and is not in keeping with the overall feel of historic Winchester and one can't help think 'what a shame'. Is this the best the planners could come up with? Look at the area around Maison Blanc in Jewery Street, or the new development for the restaurant at Abbey Mill, these have been completed sympathetically even though modern in design. Does anyone support the proposed 6-7 storey steel and glass development? not one person I've spoken to has supported it and if that is a common consensus that must tell WCC something isn't right with the design. Dill Tart
  • Score: 1
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