PLANS for the proposed redevelopment of the cattle market site misses an opportunity to create a new public green space, says Hampshire Gardens Trust.

The site between Andover Road and Worthy Lane is earmarked mainly for housing as part of the Station Approach scheme proposed by the city council.

The trust points out that the site of Highfield Lodge, now the Winchester Club, was a mature and tranquil garden across two centuries until the 1930s.

Sally Miller, Hampshire Gardens Trust trustee and chairman of its research group, has written a report that states: “A substantial and mature garden at Highfield Lodge lasted almost without change for at least 150 years.

“It would be appropriate if the plans for Station Approach acknowledged its history by creating a new green public space which could be named for Giles Pointer, Brewer of Winchester. This could be a ‘bowling green’ or a linear green space planted with trees and shrubs that reflected the curve of the original approach drive to the house. Hampshire Gardens Trust has been instrumental in supporting the creation of new green spaces in the city (Queen Eleanor’s Garden, Dean Garnier Garden and Hyde Abbey Garden).

“The redevelopment of land around the Station Approach is an ideal opportunity to create a new green space which references the site’s history.”

Ted Wake, chairman of Hampshire Gardens Trust, said: “It is crucial that cities such as Winchester – with its status as one of the finest examples of a cathedral city – takes every opportunity to preserve and enhance the design of every development to incorporate ample green space for the benefit of those who will live and work in and around the new buildings.

“Of course the Hampshire Gardens Trust also recognises that the city planners must allow relevant new buildings to be created and existing buildings and spaces to be repurposed, but they must also take great care to incorporate vital green space and consult with experts in designed landscapes to make more space for trees than cars. We want future generations of Winchester’s residents to be very proud to live here.”

In 1877 Highfield Lodge on Worthy Lane (built in the 1840s), was sold by Miss Alice Rideout of Bath to Mr Giles Pointer, brewer of Winchester.

About four acres in extent, the estate was sold for £4,750 and comprised “All that freehold messuage or tenement called Highfield Lodge with the Lodge, Stable, Coach House, Gardens, Pleasure Grounds & Paddock thereto adjoining’. The 1st edition 25” OS map of 1871/2 shows a park with perimeter planting of mixed deciduous and coniferous trees. Lawns surround the house which is approached along a curving drive from a Lodge at the corner of Andover Road and Worthy Lane.

Subsequent OS maps show that the grounds of Highfield Lodge remained largely unchanged right up until the mid-1930s. In 1921 the property had been advertised to be let: ‘A comfortable residence standing in well-matured grounds of four acres. The house is approached by a long carriage drive and well screened by ornamental trees and shrubs.’

By the early 1930s the city council were discussing the removal of the cattle market from Jewry Street to the site. The proposed location was a portion (1.59 acres) of the land of Highfield Lodge, acquired earlier by the council for a road widening scheme and the possible move of the market.

Plans for the new market show the layout of the remaining Highfield Lodge gardens. The drive from Andover Road was to be blocked off by a new building ‘ladies and gents lavatories with Corn Exchange over’. The kitchen garden contains a large greenhouse, other glass frames and a potting shed. The old stable block is now a cottage; a garage and another greenhouse have been added. There is a tennis court and the lawn west of the house is laid out as a bowling green. The costs of clearing the land allocated to the cattle market included clearing existing shrubs, felling trees and taking up, rolling and stacking the turf of the lawn adjoining the Bowling Green. It also includes ‘carefully clean out existing ice house in embankment and hand-fill with selected brick rubble’. This is a very precise instruction and raises the question of why the icehouse was to be preserved. Plans for the cattle market dated 1936 include cross sections of the site from north to south, levelled and embanked with retaining walls. One section shows the dome of the ice house. The plans also show that a number of trees were to be retained, each tree/group of trees to be encircled with 9” brick curbing.

In 1936 the City sold Highfield Lodge with its remaining two acres of grounds. It was sold at auction for £3,000 and was later converted to become the Winchester Conservative Club. The sales brochure describes the property (Fig. 4): ‘In an important position between the new Cattle Market and the Municipal Coach station, only a few minutes walk from the centre of the City. Suitable as a private residence or for conversion to an Hotel or Business Premises. An attractive Residence standing in charming grounds’. The house stands in ‘Extensive timbered grounds with stabling, garages and Cottage, Lawns, Greenhouses, Productive Kitchen Garden (partly walled in), well-kept lawns, terraces and a Rose Garden.’

The cattle market operated until 1989.

Hampshire Gardens Trust, founded in 1985, was the first of a network of 34 county gardens trusts. It works to identify, record, conserve and enhance Hampshire’s heritage of parks, gardens and designed green spaces.

It says the need for publicly accessible green spaces especially in urban areas is now more evident than ever: the social, environmental, health and well-being benefits are widely recognised.