EARLIER this month the Chronicle reported the vision of activist Judith Martin for the future of Station Approach.

The senior member of the City of Winchester Trust asserts the one thing Winchester is short of are affordable homes for people such as the young and key worker and says the redevelopment could offer an opportunity to fill this gap.

The city council had envisaged a major office development to broaden the city's economy, but its plan for 150,000 square feet of space was derailed by a legal action from the City of Winchester Trust last autumn. An earlier planning application was rejected.

Ms Martin, who said her proposal is in a private capacity, says as well as housing the former Registry Office, formerly the South Western Inn until the early 1990s, could become a boutique hotel.

The car park on the corner of Sussex Street would be retained as would the planted trees. Office development could go on the Cattle Market site on Andover Road which the council also plans to develop.

Following the publication of the article, the Chronicle received letters from residents across the Winchester district supporting the ideas.

Rupert Pitt, of St Cross Road, Winchester, said: “Judith Martin rightly argues in the Chronicle (May 7) that the Station Approach site should be social / affordable housing. It is an area rich in good local architecture, with a brewery and hotel situated where the record office is now. There was a pleasing row of houses at the top of Gladstone Street demolished for the drill hall.

“The most urgent need in Winchester now is for good housing for local workers.

“At the moment the housing market is only helping the rich whilst those on average incomes are finding all their money goes into paying rent. They cannot afford to buy.”

Hampshire Chronicle:

Goldsmith Street in Norwich

And Jane Harding, Back Street, St Cross, added: “I was delighted to see Judith Martin’s proposal for affordable homes to be built as the redevelopment of Station Approach, inspired by the excellent prize-winning Goldsmith Street in Norwich.

“Perhaps the current situation will inspire us to reconsider our priorities within our city. Surely we do not need towering office blocks, shops and yet more cafes and restaurants, when so many central businesses may not recover? However, housing which is affordable for those struggling to find work or working from home, and which is also in keeping with the nearby buildings, makes absolute sense.”

Hampshire Chronicle:

Model showing the latest plans for Station Approach in Winchester displayed at a public exhibition

Sue Halloway, of Lower Chase Road, Swanmore, said: “How refreshing to read the article concerning the unofficial proposal to scrap the proposed monoliths for the Station Approach site in favour of affordable homes.

“It seems that every week a new a more offensive canyon-like structure is proposed for this site; Judith Martin’s idea is compassionate, appropriate for the times in which we live and more welcoming than yet another white elephant in a city which has enough unoccupied properties.”