Isn’t it miraculous how every morning when you go to work, the streets are clean, rubbish has disappeared and there’s a certain shine to all of Winchester City Centre? I’m going to imagine you’ve never really stopped to think about it much.
But for nocturnal creatures such as myself, you’ll find a select band of very dedicated expert cleaners roaming the streets around 3am every night, removing that sweet wrapper you may have casually discarded, or the little bit of kebab meat dropped from its plastic tray after a heavy night of partying.
If you’ve ever had to walk through town after all the closed bars, clubs and late night food venues have made people crawl back home, you’ll see that these cleaners do a somewhat marvellous job.
And all credit to them. But I have to make a plea that at some point they tackle an alleyway in the city which I’ve found to be consistently smelly, rather dingy and quite dark.
If you wander up St George’s Street past the parade of shops under the Winchester Centre, you have two options. You can either walk left around the front of Cafe Centro, or right through an alleyway at the back of it, alighting both ways at Parchment Street.
But having heard a number of female friends comment how they hate using the alleyway even during the day due to its dodgy light (especially in Winter), and consistent smell of someone who couldn’t make it home in time, this part of the city centre is continually avoided.
During summer, rays shine in and out, and although contributing to the smell, they at least make it acceptable to walk through. But in the Winter and at night, people are very much scared to walk through it – even knowing how safe our city usually is.
We’re lucky to have numerous organisations and partnerships whose raison d’être is to look after our city centre, so I ask them to consider lighting up what could be a major designer feature in St George’s Street, or if small budget allows, at least a sightly more regular bath.