A NEW architect has been appointed to revive a major scheme in Winchester following its collapse last year.

The multi-million pound Station Approach project has moved a step closer following approval of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands as the design team, who are due to begin work in September.

The name of the successful firm was kept under wraps by civic chiefs following a cabinet meeting earlier this month.

The approval of the firm's tender comes after the end of a mandatory 10 day ‘standstill period’ and a procurement exercise by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Last year the controversial plan to redevelop the area near the train station collapsed when city councillors voted against an architect which won a design competition.

But in January the council earmarked £150m for the development, which aims to provide more grade A office space and improve traffic flow.

Cllr Caroline Horrill, leader of Winchester City Council, said: “Developing Station Approach is an important aspect of our vision for Winchester’s future and will allow us to offer much needed Grade A office space to the business community who are regularly requesting premises of this calibre in the city.

“The area creates that all important first impression for many people who come to the city and serves thousands of commuters every month.

“The appointment of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands is our first step in regenerating the area so it is appealing to residents, businesses and visitors alike. The next step is to develop concept designs - as with all our major projects consultation with residents and other stakeholders is absolutely key and ensuring this is done satisfactorily has played a critical role in the RIBA selection process.”

Roger Hawkins, RIBA adviser, said “This is an important site within Winchester city centre and the standard of applicants was high.

“Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands demonstrated their public engagement skills and clear understanding of the need to engage residents and bring their views into the designs and the Project. The team scored very highly across the board.”

Director Alex Lifschutz said: “We’re proud to be awarded this prestigious project. This area of the city has an important role to play.

“We will be looking to maintain a sense of ‘Winchester’ in the area – people need to know they have arrived in a special place steeped in culture, showcasing heritage and benefitting from open spaces.

“We’re committed to making sure that we consult and engage with residents and visitors to ensure we reach a design solution that works for the city.”