THE City of Winchester Trust is staging a meeting for its 500-plus members over its new A Vision for Winchester.

The trust is calling for a strategic plan to help the city face the future and the growing pressure for development, with the city expected to grow by 20 per cent over the next decade or so.

As reported in the Chronicle last week the trust wants to see a new green belt around the south and west of the city, a western bypass to divert traffic from the city centre, fewer car parks in the centre and a boost for public transport including new train stations at Kings Worthy and St Cross.

The Vision contains eight chapters on landscape setting, conservation, the local economy, movement, housing, principles of good design, future growth and the planning process. Each chapter contains over 30 visions of what the trust would like to see.

Trust chairman Keith Leaman said: “This is the second Vision document we have undertaken, the first having been published in January 2001.

“It is therefore high time we updated our thoughts and deliberations, particularly now when several major developments are being planned for the city, a Movement Strategy is being prepared and the Local Plan is being reviewed. The Vision will act partly as a foundation on which we will base the observations we will be making on projects and developments in Winchester city.”

The overarching Vision which all the others feed into is that the city council should produce and adopt a citywide urban design framework. It would avoid major development being planned in isolation and it should have a strong connection to the City of Winchester Movement Strategy.

The new vision is likely to spark keen debate.

Winchester Business Improvement District is keen for city centre parking to be retained. New director Paul Spencer said: “My understanding of A Vision for Winchester is that they want to hugely reduce the amount of traffic coming into the city centre, which is a wise move for any city today.

“The key thing that should be focussed on is giving alternative forms of transport.

“Public transport needs to be up to a standard of high reliability and convenience before people wish to give up driving into Winchester.

“What needs to be considered is that new technology may obstruct these plans. For example, the development of electric cars is good in terms of reducing pollution, but as more people are encouraged to drive them, more traffic will be created.

“Delivery drivers will still need to enter the city centre. There are still lots of things to consider, but I think the biggest issue is that some people will always want to drive into Winchester, no matter what the alternatives.

“Having parking available in the city centre is good, and without it, most employers will have to come up with a good travel plan for employees.”

Trust members are invited to a meeting on February 21 at St Peter’s Church Pastoral Centre at 6.15pm. which the authors will summarise the document and take questions. Free copies for members can also be collected there.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Tessa via email or phone 01962 851664.

l What do you think? Write to or by post to 5 Upper Brook Street, Winchester, SO23 8AL.