UNTIL it was postponed the meeting due this Monday between senior city council officers and architects JTP was shaping up to be one of the most important in recent times.



On the agenda was how the city council sees the Silver Hill area evolving. Most readers will recall that the previous development scheme comprised largely shops and flats. There was national controversy over the bulk and appearance of the plans which collapsed last year for reasons too convoluted in the space available to recount here.

Opponents of that development said its collapse gave the opportunity for a radical rethink and a scheme more befitting the ancient capital of England. The council is drawing up a new strategy for the area, which is around a quarter of the size of the Roman city.

As we report in this week’s paper a group of citizens are arguing that this is a superb opportunity for the council to change direction and focus more on highlighting the city’s rich heritage instead of trying to compete with WestQuay or Basingstoke.

Their ideas are certainly worth serious consideration. The decline of the traditional High Street, shown by the recent departure of Jaeger and now Next, speak volumes of how the dominance of retail is receding.

A new Silver Hill that comprises a greater mix of uses would certainly be vastly more interesting.