Winchester City Council’s failure to deal effectively with the anti-social behaviour and bye-law breaking drinkers in the city centre shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone living in the centre, as I do.

It is simply indicative of their inept management of the city centre over many years. I don’t know if they just don’t see the problems, understand the problems or just don’t care enough to do anything about them.

Yes, I know there are a few streets off to the sides but Winchester is primarily a one-street centre, from the City Bridge to Upper High Street - and it's a disgrace. There are rough sleepers in doorways, beggars asking for money, often aggressively, and A boards everywhere blocking what little space is left, plus a market that is clearly in the wrong place.

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Most weeks one or more shop fronts are wilfully smashed and I’ve yet to read of anyone apprehended or charged. Does anyone ever check the CCTV? I hear that some addicts and alcoholics regularly walk into our city centre supermarkets and help themselves to expensive meat and produce and walk out without being challenged. It beggars belief (pun intended).

The latest scourge are the food delivery vehicles that park wherever they want, with impunity it seems.

Whilst the High Street was beautifully paved a few years back, the Broadway’s scruffy patched up pavements haven’t been improved in decades, now with so many trip hazards - and a pavement that floods outside the Bus Station every time we have heavy rain. It just looks so tacky now around the Guildhall and Tourist Office. What a terrible first impression our visitors must have, especially if they take to the “urban decayed” alleyway alongside Patisserie Valerie that so often reeks of urine.

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Following excavation work outside of the Tesco store a temporary repair was made to the new paving with black tarmac, it must be a year ago. I understand there is a statutory period by which such repairs must be restored and which surely cannot be this long? Does nobody care?

There are a lot of towns and cities in the UK that do it much better than we do, most without a heritage to protect - and practically every historic city in Europe. Is it beyond the will of “man” to identify good practice elsewhere and bring some back to Winchester? If the past is any indication it’s very unlikely given the commitment our council has demonstrated.

Tony Smith,

Eastgate Street,


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