“NO BATTLE plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.” So said Helmuth von Moltke, the head of the Prussian army in the 19th century.


May something similar soon be said about the Central Winchester Regeneration, more memorably known as Silver Hill 2?

There is no doubt that there is pretty wide public support for the framework which the city council hopes will guide the development of the area. There is much to like about the ideas - it is on a more human scale that the previous proposals put forward by first Thornfield and latterly by Hendersons.

The idea to retain the Antiques Market building is a good one, making it a focal point of more lanes into the site instead of the behemoth of flats and parking that emerged in Silver Hill 1.

But here is a $64,000 question. The emerging framework is all very well but will it survive first contact with the enemy? Of course we are not suggesting that any potential developer is the ‘enemy’ but as Thornfield/Henderson showed their primary focus was maximising profits for their shareholders. Commercial developers operate in the real world of cold hard cash. One way around this problem is for the city council not to get into bed again with a single developer but to break the redevelopment up into more manageable pieces. With hindsight life would have been much easier if that decision not been taken early on this Millennium.