WINCHESTER City Council has finished work to refresh the Kings Walk area.

The upgrade includes integrating the Nutshell Theatre with the Kings Walk Arcade, improving its appearance and enhancing existing open spaces.

In addition to creating a courtyard garden, with seating shared between Kings Walk traders and the Nutshell Theatre, the improvement work also included improved and consistent signage and wayfinding.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Left: before. Right: afterLeft: before. Right: after (Image: Winchester City Council)New illuminated shop signage has also been installed, alongside improvements to the lighting, new planters and planting around the Middle Brook Street and Silver Hill entrances as well as in the new courtyard area, and repainting of brickwork and replacement of doors to the rear entrance of shops.

The thinking behind the improvement works comes from a collaborative design team including Studio Multi (architects), to-studio (landscape architects), Light Follows Behaviour (lighting designers) and Tim George (graphic designer) – has been to introduce a new visual identity to the area.

The early improvement works at Kings Walk have been carried out in advance of wider-ranging proposals for Central Winchester Regeneration which Winchester City Council is delivering with its partner, Jigsaw Consortium.

The future of Kings Walk in the long-term is unclear with all previous redevelopment schemes proposing to demolish the 1970s building.

Leader of Winchester City Council, Martin Tod, said: “It’s fantastic to see the early improvement works completed for Kings Walk. Studio Multi's work has been transformational, creating a vibrant and attractive space for the businesses and visitors to the building and surrounding area.  We're committed to regenerating this part of the city and supporting the independent businesses based in Kings Walk. Studio Multi's design has helped us do both.”

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Hampshire Chronicle: Left: before. Right: afterLeft: before. Right: after (Image: Winchester City Council)Neil Wyatt, owner of the South Downs Social café, said: “We've always seen the potential of this area of town - all it needed was a bit of love. All the Kings Walk businesses have worked hard to help the area grow and improve in their own way, while the painting, planting and place-making from Winchester City Council and Studio Multi has really helped bring everything together.

“The area has been transformed over the past year or two and is now a vibrant, thriving part of the city centre. We can’t wait to celebrate the new Kings Walk at this weekend’s Festival!”

Director of Studio Multi, Nicola Rutt, added: “This project has sought to transform the previously tired and uninviting open spaces of Kings Walk by creating a more vibrant and animated focus for traders, shoppers, and visitors to Winchester.   “The Arcade has a mix of independent, creative businesses and our design approach recognises the importance of enhancing the environment of Kings Walk in the same spirit.”