AS the owner of The South Downs Social I have read with interest over the last few days the lively debate on the Chronicle letters, news and comments online about the merits of the 'meanwhile use' works at Kings Walk.

While we all know that Kings Walk will, at some point, become a thing of the past, I think that the current progress should be applauded.

Just over six months ago our unit was empty, and the space in front saw fights, drug dealing and other anti-social behaviour. With the recent removal of the wall we have seen a dramatic reduction in the impact of the street drinking group - but the wall was just one element of a range of measures that have been targeting an improvement of the area.

This change has been a collective effort supported by the Winchester City Council, the Central Winchester Regeneration team, the police, Steve Brine MP and many, many others. It is improving this area of the city centre day by day.

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In the past six months alone we've seen a beautiful transformation of Open House Deli, the opening of the new Bike Hub by Bespoke Biking, and seen Design Junction take over an empty unit and offer a range of courses and activities to the public. At the Social we've hosted sell-out talks and events that have attracted people from across the south and regularly see groups visiting us by bike from far outside Winchester. There are the hundred of young people who attend the Nutshell, plus the excellent Elephant Records, Bella Crafts and much more.

Like the passing of the seasons, change doesn't happen overnight. We welcome the current debate of the details. But sometimes you have to stop and look and where at where you've been to understand where you've got to - and it's unquestionable that the energy the Kings Walk tenants is improving this part of the city for the better, for everyone.

Neil Wyatt,


The South Downs Social,

Kings Walk,



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