A FORMER senior Winchester planner has warned major regeneration plans will result in “dead street frontage” and more traffic problems for the city centre.

John Hearn, speaking of behalf of the City of Winchester Trust, told the Station Approach committee “the latest proposals are unacceptable”.

It comes as Winchester City Council is progressing plans to revamp the area around the train station, Cattle Market and Carfax sites.

As previously reported, a document going before the same committee last week outlined how 1,110 jobs could be created through the creation of high-quality offices.

However, Mr Hearn, who worked for 28 years at the city council, told councillors it would be at the expense of vehicle and pedestrian route improvements.

He also criticised the parking plans: “Changing the position of the access and providing office car parking will send a strong council message to others wishing to redevelop in the area; ‘we don’t mind traffic congestion. Come into the city by car and we’ll provide some of you with car parking spaces so you won’t have to use park and ride, buses or trains’.

“It appears that the council has no priority for public realm improvements beyond the immediate Carfax site. It appears that the council just wants to maximise rental incomes at the expense of townscape and community considerations.”

The scheme was also criticised by independent councillor Kim Gottlieb, pictured. He said: “The only thing that seems to have changed since this project was first promoted whenever it was in 2015 is the amount of money the council is spending, which only ever increases.

“It seems that if you take into account Station Approach version one, we are presently at around the £2million mark, and that we are rapidly heading towards an expenditure of £3million.

“No individual in their right mind, nor any experienced property development company, nor any normal authority would consider spending that sort of money on any development project without a properly resolved, robust business case to hand.

“I appreciate that there may be a number of businesses which would like new office space, but there is a big gap between companies expressing interest in accommodation and them becoming signed-up tenants.

“There is a logic to the development process which is still being ignored, which is that before you start spending big money, particularly other people’s money, you have to make sure that you have a very, very sound reason for doing so.

“That process includes full development appraisals and thoroughly tested demand analysis, and as far as I can tell, on that score, the council is just repeating the mistakes it started making when the project was begun three years ago.”

As previously reported, is now in its second incarnation after the initial project collapsed two years ago. It currently has the support of both Hampshire County Council and the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.

Following the meeting, city council leader Cllr Caroline Horrill told the Chronicle: “Conservative-run Winchester City Council is undertaking exciting plans to rejuvenate Station Approach and that means developing a better cityscape, modernising the area, building offices and creating 1,000 jobs.

“Sadly, the usual suspects do not see this as a positive vision – just something to be negative about even though the vast majority of residents recognise the challenge and just want the council to get on with the job.

“Not surprisingly, exciting visions cost money to bring to the table and we are developing the project’s business case, including the allocation of parking. Several organisations have expressed their views on parking which we will consider.

“Station Approach will take into consideration the recommendations of the joint city and county council movement study to ensure the project work in terms of traffic flow.”

She added: “The project has also not entered its detailed design stage yet but we are working with local people, organisations and architects to ensure Station Approach is sympathetic to its surroundings.

“It’s quite clear much work is being done by people who know what they are doing. We are looking forward to presenting these plans to the people of Winchester. Those who wish to oppose, for whatever reason, will not delay this project.

“We owe it to those who have elected this Conservative administration to fulfil the promises we have made - Station Approach is one of those promises and we will deliver it.”