A TEAM of experts called to look at Winchester City Council after the Silver Hill fiasco now say the authority is making good progress.

The Local Government Association’s Peer Challenge was launched following the collapse of major schemes, Silver Hill and the Station Approach several years ago. The council came in for severe criticism of how it was performing.

A report to the council audit committee said: “Past experiences with a couple of major projects had dented confidence and caused reputational damage locally, and aspects of how the council organised itself were not helping.”

The councillors and senior officers from other authorities across the country were asked to see how the council could improve its performance and made several recommendations.

In September, the team carried out a follow-up evaluation and reported: “Throughout our time at Winchester we gained an overwhelming sense that the council has made significant progress since the Peer Challenge in February 2017.

“The leadership provided by the leader (Cllr Caroline Horrill) and chief executive (Laura Taylor) have given rise to a clearer sense of direction amongst staff.

“Some of the ideas we heard about 18 months ago have now become reality.

“The mix of ambitious projects and good service delivery will allow Winchester to continue to be a great place in which to live, work and visit.”

But the team said there was work to be done, adding that “the strategy does not provide a compelling vision for Winchester as a place, but this is something the council intends to address.”

Responding, Cllr Horrill said: “It has been really positive that we have received such good feedback from the review team. We have an ambitious programme we want to deliver for our residents and having an independent external review is really helpful for showing where we can keep improving for the benefit of our residents and continue with the progress we have been making over the past 18 months.”

The council has put in place an action plan to complete the remaining actions from the original peer review in the coming months.