MAJOR changes have been made to a scheme to repurpose Winchester’s former pumping station, following criticism from neighbours.

General Store co-founders Alex Donnan and Laura Turner had applied for a premises licence for The Pump House, in Garnier Road, St Cross, to transform it into “an independent upmarket/retail café/retail and bar concept that will be appealing to couples, tourists, families and commuters”, but it sparked backlash, with 38 objections lodged to Winchester City Council.

Neighbours expressed concerns about public safety, noise and increase in traffic.

A meeting of the council’s licensing sub-committee was due to take place on Monday to decide on the licence, but it was cancelled after Mr Donnan and Ms Turner withdrew their application.

The authority said that “no reason for the withdrawal was given”, but Mr Donnan told the Chronicle that plans are still being developed to open up the facility.

He said: “We started to really listen to the concerns of the community and there has been quite a lot of change and taking time to get to know the immediate neighbours.

“We have made some big changes, we are not going down the General Store model, we are going down the co-working work space route.

“It is for like-minded people who are home workers and want to branch out and want to have a work space as part of a community.”

The premises will not just incorporate work space, but also an aerobic space, cinema room, and a studio where crafts and yoga could take place.

“There still will be a publicly accessible café but that part of the building has been significantly reduced. It is quite a lot smaller than anticipated.”

Concerns were raised by neighbours of The Pump House and the site’s former owners Southern Water about alcohol being sold, to be drunk on and off the premises.

Mr Donnan has said that the new concept will not include the retailing of alcohol.

“At this stage we are not looking at applying for a premises licence, we have expressed interest that we may look at that.” He insisted that this would only be for members of the work space, to be able to hold parties for them.

It is hoped that the co-working space will be opened in January or February next year.

In the meantime, Mr Donnan said that around Christmas it is hoped that the community will be able to be served coffee from a hatch and will be given the opportunity to look round the building.

“We are just super excited and we want to work with the community. We are very opened-minded people, and we want to create something really special for Winchester, in particular St Cross.”

Get more Winchester news. 

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

If you want online news with fewer ads, unlimited access and reader rewards - plus a chance to support our local journalism - find out more about registering for a digital subscription.

Email with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.