CIVIC chiefs are slashing the number of parking spaces at Winchester’s largest development project by more than a quarter following a review into the city council’s major schemes.

The alterations to the Station Approach project, which is seeking to regenerate the area around the railway station, will be outlined to councillors at the scrutiny committee meeting next Wednesday.

They will see nearly 30 per cent fewer parking spaces on the site than planned, as well as a slight reduction in height, one of the factors which caused the collapse of the original Station Approach project several years ago.

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It follows a review being carried out by the Liberal Democrats into the previously Conservative-led major schemes (Station Approach, Silver Hill 2/Saxon Gate and the leisure centre) after seizing control of the council in May’s local elections.

Speaking to the Chronicle, Cllr Anne Weir, cabinet member for local economy, said the number of planned parking spaces would be reduced from 135 to 95, adding there are currently “in the region of 230 spaces” on the site.

She said the administration was looking at the scheme with its ‘carbon neutral district’ pledge, and hoped that developers would look to reduce that number further.

When asked whether the reduced number of spaces would impact the ability to attract tenants, city council strategic director Chas Bradfield remained positive.

He said: “The sort of developers we are interested in are in the regional market. There’s considerable interest in a development with less parking.”

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The number of spaces had been a cause for concern among objectors to the scheme. In a letter to planners, the City of Winchester Trust said: “Given the location next to the railway station and the proximity of the Tower Street and Cattle Market car parks, the number of parking spaces is difficult to justify.”

In the addition, the scheme has still sparked concerns regarding its scale despite being smaller than its failed predecessor, with dozens of objections being lodged against the application set to be decided on in the coming months.

One of those to raise concerns was the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA). In a letter to planners, director of planning Tim Slaney said: “The SDNPA would raise potential concerns regarding the building height in long distance views from the national park... and would request that consideration is given to a reduction in height of the building in order to ensure it does not break the skyline in view from St Catherine’s Hill.”

Andrew Scott, assistant inspector of historic buildings and areas at Historic England, added in a letter: “The tallest element of the scheme essentially rises to seven storeys... making it one of the tallest secular buildings within Winchester.

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“The tallest elements would be somewhat visible in long distance views from St Catherine Hill and Morestead Road.”

Mr Bradfield said taking on board the concerns raised, the scheme would be reduced “by a couple of metres”.

As previously reported, the scheme, estimated to cost £159m, is set transform the area around the railway station, creating 140,000 square feet of Grade A office space, along with a further 17,000 sq ft of retail, cafe and restaurant space.

Civic chiefs estimate the scheme will provide an £81million boost to the local economy and create 1,000 jobs.

The planning application is expected to go before a city council planning committee in either September or October.