WINCHESTER civic chiefs have revealed detailed plans for the revamp of Kings Walk in the city centre.

The city council is breathing new life into the shopping arcade and has a £385,000 budget for a range of improvements.

The plans focus on improving the appearance of the retail terraces facing Middle Brook Street and the façade and entrance to Kings Walk along Silver Hill, whilst also developing opportunities to improve the open spaces across this key area of the city centre, which is home to the Nutshell Theatre.

The 1970s complex will be upgraded with:

• a modern LED lighting design to replace antiquated lighting, including nine globe pendant lights above the courtyard;

• Decluttering existing, out-dated signage with a cleaner visual approach to wayfinding through and around the area;

• Repainting the brickwork along Silver Hill and replacing the existing solid doors to the rear entrances of shops with new doors incorporating windows;

• Repurposing an existing loading bay (currently used for rubbish storage and collection) in Tanner Street as an event space for gatherings, cultural events and a market.

In the long term the Kings Walk building will be demolished as part of the new Silver Hill scheme, also called the Central Winchester Regeneration.

The scheme has been led by a team including architectural practice Studio Multi, as reported by the Chronicle earlier this year.

The council will shortly be announcing a procurement process to find a contractor to deliver the works.

Central to the proposals will be the creation of a ‘Courtyard Garden’ shared by traders and The Nutshell. This will be achieved through the introduction of new planting, new suspended light fittings and flexible seating arrangements.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Courtyard of Kings Walk, revamp plans August 2022

These measures aim to produce a more attractive environment than exists at present, where shoppers and visitors to the centre of Winchester can meet and relax. The plans also include provision for planting to be sourced from – and maintained by – local Winchester businesses.

The scheme does not include any use of the former council offices on the first and second floors.

READ MORE: Kings Walk shops handed 12-month extension after long-fought battle with Winchester City Council

A planning application for the changes, including the use of the loading bay is due to be submitted soon.

Nicola Rutt, director of Studio Multi, said: “In recent months, we have spoken with many of the traders in Kings Walk and have put their views for the transformation at the heart of our proposals to revitalise this part of the city. We are seeking to transform the open spaces of Kings Walk by turning them into usable extensions of indoor spaces, the intention being that this will encourage the local community and visitors to Winchester to engage more with Kings Walk, which has a rich mix of independent, creative businesses and characterful outdoor spaces.

"Our proposals will also – we believe – contribute towards the longer-term development of a ‘cultural quarter’ in the area by seeking to attract more creative, independent businesses to the centre of Winchester.”

Cllr Martin Tod, council leader and cabinet member for asset management, said: “It is great to see these exciting proposals moving ahead. The team has worked closely with the tenants, local businesses and the police to design these much-needed improvements to Kings Walk which represent the early stages in what will eventually be a much wider transformation and improvement of a larger part of the city centre.

“This is only a beginning, but it starts to show the great potential impact of the wider vision for the Central Winchester Regeneration site and its significant long-term benefits to people living and working in and around the district, including the creation of flexible workspace, retail and leisure facilities together with high-quality housing and attractive public realm.”

The council had come under fire for its creative quarter plans by seeking to evict two long-established traders, Sukee Market and Sunflowers Emporium. The council has backtracked and granted them a one-year reprieve.

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