THE widow of a celebrated architect who designed Hampshire Record Office is “lamenting” Winchester City Council’s Station Approach development.

Lady Angela Stansfield Smith, whose husband Sir Colin Stansfield Smith created the Sussex Street building, says its gardens have been “wrenched away” by the 210,000 square-foot plans.

Sir Colin designed the building when head of the Hampshire Country Council architects team and met the Queen when Her Majesty officially opened the facility in 1993.

Lady Stansfield Smith said: “This was Colin’s last building before he retired from the council, and I very proudly recall it being opened.

“I also recall the planting of the gardens which create the setting for and are integral to the design of the Record Office.”

The Station Approach project looks to redevelop the area to play a “key role” in the future of Winchester. But Lady Stansfield, along with a number of architects, claim the proposals will take away the “beautiful” gardens.

Architectural historian Judith Martin described Station Approach as “overwhelming”.

She added: “The examples of good quality buildings promoted by local authorities are too rare.

“The Station Approach proposals are overwhelming and the way they impact on the Record Office and on the surrounding Conservation Areas is unacceptable. The council really must think again, particularly in light of its environmental aspirations.”

As previously reported the city council granted outline planning permission for its own application on September 12.

Kate Macintosh, an architect whose development in Streatham, London, is now Grade II listed, said: “The space around buildings is every bit as important as the buildings themselves, which is why I was delighted to join Angela’s team of enthusiasts who set about tidying the pathway and garden to the station side of the property.

“The Himalayan Birch woodland was carefully designed for the limited height of the trees and the lightness of their colour. The standing stone adds to the delight of the place and its needless loss would be tragic.”

The latest opposition to the £150million Station Approach development, which will feature 190,000 square feet of office space and a further 20,000 sq ft of retail, cafe and restaurant space, come as the city council progress the next phase of the plans.

Cabinet members are being asked to consider more detailed information on the selection process for a site purchaser, who would then take the project on and deliver the major development.

A report to the meeting of cabinet on Wednesday (October 23) says the scheme needs to meet three strategic objectives:

  • Achieve greater economic performance from land uses.
  • Maintain or improve the city council assets.
  • Improve the aesthetic and environmental impact of the area.

The report adds: “A scheme meeting these objectives will deliver a transformative, exemplar office-led regeneration of the area around the station, ensure the enhancement of the economic vitality of the city and wider district for the future; offering new, improved employment opportunities, whilst also creating an improved gateway with enhanced connectivity to the city centre.”