CIVIC chiefs and architects are getting close to formally applying for permission for one of the biggest redevelopment schemes in Winchester’s history.

The latest plans for the Carfax/Station Approach were unveiled at a public exhibition on Saturday and Tuesday at the Old Registry Office next to the railway station. A planning application for outline permission is expected at the end of March.

This is the city council’s second attempt to redevelop the Carfax site after a previous scheme was scuppered in 2016. City councillors killed it off because they considered its bulk and height too great for Winchester.

Architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands have developed a scheme for offices, with better public access through the site and revamped public transport hub.

Ian Charie, head of programme at the city council, said he believed the scheme was needed for the city and many people agreed. Speaking at the exhibition on Saturday Mr Charie said: “I have just spoken to a woman who said ‘we need it.’ It will bring 1,000 jobs. Winchester has to move on, else it will stagnate.”

Mr Charie said the new proposal is less intrusive. It is four or five stories and not seven. The parking will be underground. “There are currently 223 parking spaces on the site, There will be 130. This is an outline application so things like the details and the materials can be changed.”

Getting permission will enable the council to seriously attract tenants for the offices, he said.

The two exhibitions attracted more than 200 people. The council stresses that the designs are ‘concepts’ and can be changed.

Feedback on the proposals was collected and will be considered when preparing an outline planning application, due to be submitted before the end of March.

Cllr Steve Miller, chairman of the Cabinet (Station Approach) Committee said: “It was great to see so many residents, visitors and commuters at the information sessions and to share the latest updates with them.

“The feedback we received after the sessions will be collated and published in a report next month and will be useful in guiding this project through the next steps. I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to share their views with us”.

The Station Approach project is set to bring 140,000 square feet of Grade A office space, along with a further 17,000 sq ft of supporting retail, cafe and restaurant space to Winchester and will provide an £81m boost to the local economy.

The council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee will discuss the project at their meeting on Wednesday Marc 20h with the Council’s Station Approach Cabinet expected to approve the concept designs and confirm the submission of an outline planning application for the Carfax site, by the end of March.

The exhibition panels, model and feedback forms will be on display at the Winchester Discovery Centre until Sunday March 3 and can also be found on the council’s website: