THE vision for how the centre of Winchester may be developed has been approved.

Policymakers last night agreed the planning framework that will guide development of the central Winchester area, also known as Silver Hill.

The Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) was approved by the city council Cabinet.

It follows a long period of consultation with the public following the collapse of the first Silver Hill scheme,

Council Leader Caroline Horrill said: "I am delighted that my Conservative administration has been able to deliver this significant document that will guide the regeneration of this important part of our city centre.

"I would like to say a huge thank you to colleagues on the IPG [Informal Policy Group] who have been committed to getting a robust document that Cabinet was able to adopt.

"But, we couldn’t have done it without the input from everyone who took the time to come and see us at the events around the district and who shared their views in person, online and in writing at the different stages throughout this project."

The council will now work with architects, designers, financial and legal advisers, as well as other landowners, to develop the area between The Broadway and Friarsgate.

Any development will take many years but the council said it will look for short and medium term opportunities to improve the rundown area.

These include:

· Improving the overall look and feel of the public realm, including the Broadway;

· Working with Winchester School of Art to incorporate artwork on the site;

· Refurbishing the Antiques Market to meet the needs of the anticipated new arts-based tenant;

· Redeveloping currently-empty Coitbury House into modern office;

· Negotiating with businesses interested in using vacant office and shop space until the buildings are needed for redevelopment.