IT takes a special form of myopia, especially when budgets for public works are tight, to spend scarce money on degrading a public space and inconveniencing traders.

The space in question is just south of the entrance to Kings Walk, where an enclosing brick wall was erected just a few years ago, providing protection to a seating area, now used by one of the three bike/cafes which are always doing a flourishing trade, when not plagued by cement dust plus screaming grinders and drills.

The wall was not a great design having an uninviting crenelated coping, just where a weary shopper might wish to perch for a moment, but it was sturdy and low-maintenance. This has now been replaced, after weeks of Heras fencing and canvas screening, by a black-stained timber stained palisade fence. A similar operation is afoot for the wall enclosing the space to the north of the entrance to Kings Walk, once again disrupting trade for the café there.

I am informed that Winchester City Council includes on its staff roll urban designers. I cannot believe that anyone with a qualification in that skill was involved in the decision to replace a durable visually inconspicuous wall with a fence, better suited to a suburban garden, incurring a maintenance liability, making the enclosed space more draughty and generally less attractive. Who is responsible for this ill-informed decision-making?

Kate Macintosh MBE RIBA,

West End Terrace,


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