PLANS to build a a new enterprise hub have been quietly scrapped after Winchester University pulled out of the scheme.

Proposals had been put forward to build a ‘creative enterprise centre’ that would help graduates and business start-ups in Winchester get off the ground.

The project looked set to form a partnership between Winchester City Council and the university, but in October 2016 the university withdrew from discussions citing the need to prioritise on other scheme, which threw the project into doubt.

It would have been built on the former railway goods shed, which was previously used by TJ Waste.

Speaking at the time, a university spokeswoman said: “After careful consideration, the university has decided to withdraw from discussions with Winchester City Council about the development of a Creative Enterprise Centre.

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“The university is currently working with the council and other partners to deliver a new leisure centre for the city at Bar End and our focus is on ensuring the success of this project.”

Despite the set back, there were hopes that the project would continue after leader Cllr Caroline Horrill revealed talks had begun with other possible partners last summer.

Now, following a request for an update on the scheme, the Chronicle has learnt the project has been quietly scrapped.

A spokesman said: “We reviewed the options to establish a Creative Enterprise Centre at Bar End following The University of Winchester’s decision not to pursue its interest in the development.

“Although this particular scheme will not be progressed, the council remains keen to see the site brought back into use and is therefore considering other options for the premises.”

Responding to the news, Cllr Lucille Thompson, who pressed the council over the project in 2016, said: “That’s really disappointing because we have lots of students from the School of Arts for instance.

“The idea was that we would provide a small studio to move into. We are really lacking these opportunities. It did seem like a fantastic idea.”

Cllr Thompson added: “I think one of the other problems [other than the university pulling out] was that the council officer had left the council.”

It is understood that the officer involved in the project was former assistant director for economy and communities Eloise Appleby, who left the council in October.