THE former Antiques Market in Winchester will be used for artistic purposes temporarily while Silver Hill 2 is in development.

But the city council says it intends to regain possession of the building on Kings Walk by December 2021 as it is part of the area to be redeveloped.

Architects JTP are working towards a draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the central Winchester area, due to be revealed on October 30.

The Central Winchester Regeneration cabinet committee also heard about the possibility of locating 12 market stalls in the area between Marks and Spencer and Sainsburys on Middle Brook Street, and that proposals for pop-up uses on the land at the side of the Bus Station were to be explored.

Expenditure of £25,000 for works to the former Antiques Market and a further £25,000 for a feasibility study for the refurbishment of Coitbury House - which currently stands empty - were also approved.

Work at the Antiques Market will include new lighting, the removal and replacement of floor tiles and treating damp.

The meeting also heard that two floors of offices above Poundland have been refurbished, with one tenant - a pilates studio - having begun to fit out one of the suites.

Leader Cllr Caroline Horrill said it was important to explore uses for the area.

She said: “It’s about how do we still improve the site, bring life to the site, which we have already done with the purchase of the Bus Station and the Friarsgate Car Park.”

Cllr Rob Humby added: “It’s a positive move to improve the area while we make some of those large decisions. I very much welcome the paper.”

Cllr Richard Izard added: “I think in the short-term this is a good measure.”

Patrick Davies, of the City of Winchester Trust, asked that further work also be undertaken at Middle Brook Street to provide better seating following the removal of the fountain.

“I have seen people try and sit, uncomfortably. The general public have no right any longer to sit and pause in that area,” he said.

Head of estates Kevin Warren replied: “We have had some quite serious issues with some people that we were trying to move on.”

“Hopefully with other initiatives it should be possible to manage the situation better, in the future we can find some public seating in that area.”

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