WINCHESTER civic boss George Beckett last night vowed to press on with the vision to transform a chunk of the city centre.

The £100 million Silver Hill Renaissance for new shops, homes and bus station is hanging in the balance after the parent company of Thornfield Properties collapsed last week.

Administrators have been called in and are currently examining the company’s projects including Winchester.

Cllr Beckett told the Council yesterday evening that although technically Thornfield Properties (Winchester) Ltd was not in administration it was unable to proceed with the scheme.

Work on the compulsory purchase orders to secure all the land has been halted. Thornfield currently owes the council around £20,000, said Mr Beckett.

Also frozen is the plan for St Clements surgery to move from Tanner Street to the car park on Upper Brook Street, which Thornfield was to fund.

But he stressed: “This does not mean that regeneration of the area cannot or will not happen.

“We all agree that Silver Hill is the least attractive part of the town centre and represents an area with the huge potential to contribute to improving our retail offer, providing town centre housing and creating improved infrastructure.”

Mr Beckett said Winchester was a “great success story…which people will be willing to invest in.

“So we will not abandon the vision of Silver Hill, we will seek to bring it forward either under our current arrangements, with a new partner or in a new way.

“What Winchester needs is for people to talk up our prospects, be positive about the future and not let our vision fade.”