Latest News Nov/Dec 2017
Latest news 29th October 2016
The Cabinet voted unanimously to proceed with a new brief for Station Approach at their meeting on 19th October. The decision was reported in the Hampshire Chronicle this week.
Click here to see the news report.
Plus, City Council Website:
Press release from City Council Sept,Click here.
More recent press articles:
Architects warn of damage to City Council click here.
Claims Design jury were mislead , click here.
News July 22nd
Much Better News!
This week there have been two important Council Meetings - Overview and Scrutiny committee and full Council meeting. Reports on both can be seen in the Hampshire Chronicle using the links below and in the Media section.
A number of SANG supporters attended the Council meeting and reported it being 'lively' - in the end good sense prevailed and the Council voted not to proceed with bidder B ( which had 'won' the design competition). This really is a victory for common sense.
Anyway here are the reports:
Concern remain over Station Approach Scheme
Station Approach scheme could be set back by more than a year.
Latest June 19th
Following the Cabinet meeting reported below, the Overview and Scrutiny committee gave Officers quite a grilling
this week. Hopefully this will herald a new approach to the whole Station Approach scheme. See latest news article from Hampshire Chronicle!
Many people attended the recent Cabinet meeting and in the public participation section the public voice present was overwhelming in opposition to either of the schemes that have emerged from the Design competition.
As reported previously, the 'winner' scored only 7.45/18 points from the Design Jury - and there were clear concerns voiced. Unsurprisingly though commercial considerations have clearly 'trumped' matters of quality and according to the press report ( see News section), 'Bidder B' is being given the go ahead.
Click here for 'Front page' article from Hampshire Chronicle
Now turn to the NEWS section of the website to read other recent reports from the latest Hampshire Chronicle following the Cabinet meeting last week.
Latest news 31st MAY 2016
Well, the 'Jury is out'. The Design Jury have now reported to the City Council and, according to the rules of the competition, the Bidder with the highest overall 'score' is going to be 'B'.
Even reading the rather optimistic report produced by officers for the Cabinet (see CAB 2802) when you follow the link suggested below - although the officers give a score of 19 out of 21 points for the criteria they were using - i.e. does it produce loads of office space etc etc - yes or no! ., the Design Jury only gave 7.45 out of a possible 18 points - for the design quality aspect they were asked to look at - and bear in mind that is for THE BEST ONE !!!!
Anyway we think it is important that as many residents as possible go along to the meeting on Weds 8th June at 10.00am and ask in advance to be able to make their views known. If the Council endorse 'Bidder B', this could be the last chance we get to make our views known before the whole thing enters the planning permission process.
Here are some things to look at:
1. Details of the Cabinet meeting - follow this link and then click on CAB 2802 (look at section 6 and also appendix 1.
2. Latest report in the Press. 'Another setback for Station Approach'
3. Also in the press, 'What are they thinking?'
9th May 2016
Display of proposals now available to view.
Proposals from the 2 remaining firms of architects (remember 3 have dropped out from the 'competition')
are now on display for people to see and comment on.
The link below takes you to the information about the displays - and also provides an on-line comment form.
It is important to remember that the Cabinet will be making a decision as to whether to proceed and with whom - on the 19th May - so make your views known!
More Architects have dropped out from the 'competition'.
As you can see from the latest headline article in the Hampshire Chronicle ( See Media page 'Silver Hill 2!) , we now have a situation where 3 out of the original 5 architects selected to submit designs for Station Approach have now dropped out! You could not make it up could you! This means that there will now only be two designs on offer for the Jury to choose from on April 25th.
21st December 2015
Architects in design competition have been given more time!
Dates previously announced ( see below) have been put back as follows:
Design Jury convenes to examine designs and make recommendations: now 25th April 2016
Public exhibition of designs: now 25th April 2016
WCC Cabinet meets to consider recommendations:
now 19th May 2016
5th December 2015
A shortlist of 5 potential Architects for the Station Approach plans has been announced this week.
Only of these firms is from Winchester.Also the list of those making up the jury has also been announced. See this article in the Hampshire Chronicle.
14th November 2015
We have now received some copies of another glossy booklet. This time it is the 'Design Brief' which outlines the scope and terms of the forthcoming design competition for the whole area. You can find a link to this via the general WCC station approach web page ( see useful links) OR by clicking here. ( The document itself is a pdf attachment at the bottom of the page).
Latest news 6th November 2015
A consultation on the Local Plan Part 2 2015 Publication (Pre-Submission) starts on the 6 November and ends at noon on 21 December 2015. This is important as it is the last opportunity we have to comment - especially on the 'soundness' of this overarching plan.
News 27th October 2015
(a) Special Council Meeting 21st October
Received a copy of the revised Local Plan Part 2 ( as discussed in the meeting of the Cabinet (Local Plan committee) on October 6th. A number of amendments can be seen in this revised plan which may have a bearing on developments proposed for Carfax and Cattle Market sites.
On this page - click here - you can find a link to to the actual documents ( See section 6 documents listed ) or you should be able to see them by clicking on the blue writing below! Note: To avoid having to wade through page and pages you should go to sections on Winchester Town (P.21) or just read the policies WIN 5,6,7 on pages 36/37.
Winchester District Local Plan Part 2 - Development Management and Site Allocations 15MB
CL115 - Addendum
(b) The design competition for this area is being rushed ahead:
21st October. This timetable for the net phase of the design competition has been sent to SANG(also shown in the Station Approach Panel section).
As of this morning, the contract notice for Station Approach will be published in the Official Journal of the EU. This signals the start of the process of the design competition. Below are the key milestones for the next 5 months as well as a link to the finalised design brief. We will also be working on updating the Station Approach webpages regularly as the competition progresses.
Issue of notice in Official Journal of European Union 21/10/15
Issue of invitation to tender documents to shortlisted architects 02/12/15
Anonymised exhibition of submission by shortlisted architects w/c 07/03/16
Design Jury examines designs and makes recommendations w/c 07/03/16
Special Cabinet to consider recommendations of Jury
Special Cabinet Meeting 17th Sept 2015
At a well attended meeting on the 17th Sept 2015 the Cabinet approved the latest draft of the Design Brief for the Design competition. There were many speeches from a number of stakeholders' - all of which were in one way or another very critical of the brief - what follows should give you a flavour of the meeting!
1. A link to Hampshire Chronicle report of the meeting:
Fears over Station Approach scheme as civic chiefs approve design brief
2.Brief summary of points made by SANG member here.
3. Questions to Cabinet with their written responses can be found here.
4.A copy of the Lib Dem FOCUS newsletter here._
5. A copy of the Design Brief itself - note there will be some further changes made as noted in the press to follow .
As you can see \WCC continues to push ahead despite enormous concern from a wide range of stakeholders.
7th August 2015
WCC Traffic Survey update.
WCC have now released further information concerning their recent traffic survey ( see WTF meeting report below).
This further 'technical assessment' is being used to justify changes in Car Parking - and also to suggest that such changes will improve traffic flow 'slightly' at 'The Albion' junction.
However in spite of the elegant analysis, we would argue this is likely to remain flawed since:
1. In the survey, driver routes to car parks is based on google maps ( and not actual routes taken).
2. The survey and analysis by Urban Flow has not included any reference to the additional traffic that will be generated by the Barton Farm development.
Watch this space!
1. Winchester Town Forum Meeting Tuesday 28th July 2015.
This weeks WTF meeting included a discussion of the amended design brief for the Station Approach. This included discussion of the plans for a 'design competition'. (Minutes of this meeting will be put on the website as soon as they are available).
In the meantime a few snippets:
1. Public participation.
A number people addressed the Town forum. Imogen Dawson spoke up for 'SANG' whilst others spoke either as individuals or on behalf of organisations. Hampshire Chronicle reported on the contribution made by a member of City of Winchester Trust.
2. Comments and questions from Councillors highlighted a number of issues including,for example, how important it was that development plans:
* Were not dominated by utilitarian office blocks.
* Improved traffic flow for all vehicles as well as better for pedestrians and cyclists.
* Included significant improvements in 'public space'.
* Should not be rushed.
* Respected existing height of properties.
It was also questioned as to how the new design brief fitted with Local Plan Part 2 - which is still yet to be approved.
At the same time it was made abundantly clear that in the end implementation of the project will be shaped largely by 'commercial viability'.
Also, concerns raised by SANG and others previously regarding the impact of traffic from 2000 new homes at Barton Farm still do not seem to be acknowledged.
3. Regarding Traffic flow, Councillor Weir (chair) noted that concerns were being raised about the validity of conclusions of the recent Urban Flow parking survey. An Officer of the Council (Andy Hickman) responded with news that further more detailed information will be on the Council website 'later this week' . (Editorial note: At present this has yet to happen however, point noted and we look forward to seeing this - however we have requested that ALL PRIMARY data is made available so that SANG and others can see 'What assumptions Urban flow made in their report'. We will continue to press for this vital information. See point 4 under 'inaugural meeting' in the Station Approach Panel tab above).
4. A lot of other useful observations were made by Councillors. Here are must a few:
* A plea to give serious thought to inclusion of the arts,, public art, and to think more creatively.
* The need to give more thought to the archeology of the sites.
* Some concerns about the way a design 'competition ' would work.
* Highlighting potential 'conflict of interest' for the council regarding their role as 'land owner' on the one hand and role for granting of planning permission on the other hand.
The Cabinet Chair, Councillor Godfrey was present and given the opportunity to address the Town Forum. Again he reiterated the Cabinet view about the need for more 'high quality' office space in Winchester, and a need to 'get on' with this project . He said that he will be taking views expressed at WTF back to Cabinet....
Previous news 10th July 2015
1. SANG members attended WCC Cabinet meeting on Monday 6th July. Along with others we were allowed 3 minutes each for 'public participation'. In our presentation we were able to restate some of the concerns we have previously made. Winchester BID and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce also made statements - it was largely these however that dominated press coverage. For SANG summary points click here.
2. See below for a summary of the 'key decision' made by Cabinet.
3. For press coverage see 'Media' page.
Latest news about Station Approach plans - headline points confirmed at WCC Cabinet meeting 6th July 2015.
A more recent DRAFT DESIGN BRIEF (Click to view) has been provided by WCC. SANG supporters are urged to read this carefully. Please email comments using the ' contact us ' button - we will collate these and make sure they are represented at the panel meetings referred to below.
N.B. First consultation meeting for 'Station Approach Panel' (including SANG) ( previously referred to as the Station Approach Reference Group - see further news below for detail) to be held on 22nd July 2015. Meetings then to be held on a monthly basis.
News - 28th June 2015
'SANG' invited to be join the 'Stakeholder Reference Group'. ( Now to be called 'Station Approach Panel')
19th June 2015
Council pushing ahead on Station Approach ??
Harrison Arboriculture, Basingstoke, has been contracted by WCC Landscape Department to undertake a survey of of all the trees in the Cattle Market and Gladstone Street Car parks. The survey is being undertaken now and we understand a report will be sent to the landscape department shortly. Anecdotally this is about providing data that would support any plan to 'improve the landscaping' of the sites that could take place as part of any overall development plans.
This is likely to be an Arboricultural survey and method Statement - known as a BS 5837 Tree Survey which is usually required to support any planning application for any development where trees 'lie within or adjacent' to the likely site area. The purpose of this is essentially to plot the position of all trees - with details such as type and condition. ( we understand that all trees in these sites are actually in good condition- and some - e.g. the copper beach on the corner of Andover road / Worthy lane being outstanding.) The survey would provide information that would allow the design of any development to take the trees into consideration - both during the construction phase and once the development is complete. It would also provide information regarding the need for any subsequent work e.g. protection or felling of trees.
This prompts us to think:
1. Why is this happening now?
The local plan has yet to be approved and as far as we are aware no planning application has yet to come forward - so why the rush to do this at such an early stage ?
Summer may be here and all may appear to be 'quiet on the station front' but don't be fooled into believing that nothing is happening behind the scenes !
2. When / will the report be published on WCC website or made available to the public?
Watch this space!!
11th June 2015
1. Letter to Leader of Council and Reply. (See below).
2. Links to Hampshire Chronicle. (see Media page for latest articles ( Crunch time for Silver Hill and the Report of Hunts redevelopment plans).
Dear Councillor Godfrey,
I was present at the cabinet meeting last week, I very much appreciated the new openness and willingness to engage and comment on the contributions from the public speakers.
Listening to the various arguments about the viability of Silver Hill, it struck me that a similar exercise could be carried out on the proposed Station Approach development to assess the risks and benefits both financial and otherwise. At the residents meetings the introduction included the comment that while the contents of the development were open to discussion the fact of a development was not. The car park on Worthy Lane is now officially considered "full", 25% of the council's income currently comes from car parking. It seems to me that any large scale development is actually at the risk of the current financial stability.
Many of us are at a loss to understand the desirability of a "commercial hub", the unemployment in Winchester is less than 1% so presumably any new jobs would involve commuting into Winchester. The city has a wonderful heritage and could well follow the example of places like Bath and York capitalising on tourism and culture rather than the Basingstoke model. The world is changing fast what seems to be on the increase is eating out, travel, events such as the hat fair and culture; let's not get dragged into an old fashioned development model which may well prove a white elephant in the future.
I have attached a paper written by Imogen Dawson "The Commercial Hub Conundrum" which I hope you will find interesting.
Thank you for your email and the interesting paper attached to it. I have passed this to the project team to ensure that it is considered as we move forward with consideration of the way forward for this area. You can be assured that, when any scheme is developed, a thorough assessment of the business case, including viability, will be precede any decision
23rd May 2015
Plan to convert Hunts Food on Andover Road for student accommodation.
Public consultations are to be held on Friday 5th June 4pm-8pm , Saturday 6th June 10am-2pm, at St Paul's Church on St Paul's Hill. The proposal which is from a private developer is to create purpose built student accommodation 'equivalent to 70 houses' (250 students?). Households have received a leaflet from 'Cratus Communications' in London, presumably on behalf of the developer. It says that the 'project team' will be at these events to explain the proposal in more detail and answer questions. If you are not able to attend either of these meetings but have questions you can contact the team at email@example.com. 2702)
NEWS FROM WCC (sent out 21/5/15)
Draft Local Plan Part 2 - update
Following the close of consultation on the draft Local Plan Part 2 in December 2014, summaries of all the comments received were reported to two Local Plan Committee meetings on 12 and 30 March respectively. These did not include responses to most of the comments and the Strategic Planning team are in the process of following up the many detailed points made on the draft Local Plan Part 2. It was intended that responses to the issues raised and any proposed amendments to the Plan would be reported to a Local Plan Committee scheduled for 1 June 2015. However, given the number and nature of representations, and the need to engage with specialists both within and outside the Council, it is necessary to cancel the 1 June meeting and it is anticipated this will now be held during September.
The intention is that the next stage of the Local Plan (the ‘Pre-Submission’ Plan) will be published in autumn 2015 for a 6-week consultation on its ‘soundness’ followed by submission for examination by an Inspector in early 2016, examination hearings in spring 2016, and adoption in mid/late 2016. A detailed programme for the next stages of the Local Plan work and its consideration by Councillors will be published soon.
What our Councillors and candidates for Councillor posts think!
We have recently been asking our immediate local Councillors for their thoughts on the 'aims and values' we have listed on this website.
We have now emailed a copy of these to all of you on our mailing list and hope that you find them of interest. The responses they have given us can now be seen in the pdf file below.
By clicking here you can open a 'pdf' file.
Feedback to WCC on the Consultation events.
SANG feedback to WCC on the Station Approach Consultations. Following a recent meeting to discuss the various consultation events i.e. e-survey of residents, 'stakeholder' and 'business' group meetings and the residents' workshops, it was suggested that we pool together views expressed and ask for these to be 'put on the record'. This has now been done. If you would like to read these please click here.
1. Other Meeting News.
20/3/15 Thanks to everyone who attended the 'update' meeting recently. In particular a big 'thank you' to all the new supporters who joined us. Minutes have now been sent out by email.
2. Press Release 20/3/15
See our press release in full on the Media page.
3. 'Shaping the future' consultation meetings
You can find links to summaries of all these meetings below. (Please check to see your comments have been included!)
1. Report of residents survey comments.Station Approach 2. Stakeholder Meetings ReportReport from Station
3. Approach BID/Business Meeting
4. Report of residents' meetings comments.
Draft Local Plan Part 2 Consultations
Your representations to this consultation can now be viewed:
Your views on the Architects plans shown in the latest displays!
(These will be added as they come in!)
A competition of two is not a real competition but a very limited view of architectural expertise. Three architects dropped out and of the two remaining only B has drawings of the cattle market.
This will not be a gateway to the city but a tale of two cities. Station Approach, Carfax and Cattlemarket will be massively overdeveloped with no relationship to the existing cathedral city. Over massing is driven by the need to get a development partner (who is paying for the development)?
Winchester is, relatively, a small city and the Carfax proposal in particular bidder C is totally out of scale with that city. The records office, which is a big building in relation to existing fabric, will be absolutely dwarfed and the bidder C building immediately adjacent to the station is more akin to massing of building in central London.
How will BREEAM outstanding be obtained when there are proposals for so much car parking in the developments next to the station / public transport hub?
The public realm proposals for Andover Road link (bidder C) with suspended walkways and segregated access for pedestrians and cyclists for which there is not space have nothing to do with the urban fabric. The proposals also take no consideration of existing planning proposals, eg redevelopment of Hunts for student housing and their schemes for access.
The Winchester Local Plan emphasises the need to “protect and enhance the special character of Winchester and its historic heritage”; neither of the current schemes comes close to doing this.
The proposals are not a coherent development plan for the area but are based on sites WCC happens to own. As a result such unlovely and underused office buildings as Harman House, Cromwell House and Athenia House in Andover Road, as well as Newburgh House (the Army Cadet Force building on the corner of Newburgh Street) are retained. But the Register Office building would be demolished, despite overwhelming public support for its retention, to be replaced by buildings so large that they would dwarf the Records Office.
More offices would increase commuting to the City, while the Winchester District Economic Strategy states that “further efforts need to be made to reduce in-commuting”. The station itself is a pretty building and Station Hill is an attractive tree-lined approach, with a spacious feel, which with only minor improvements (such as refurbishing Registry House and getting rid of the large advertisement hoardings on Stockbridge Road) could be made even more attractive. The Community Gardeners who look after the corner of Stockbridge Road and Station Hill show that small scale improvements can have an immediate positive effect on the local environment.
Rather than offices and residential blocks, the Cattle Market should be transformed to a Public Park with a Childrens Play area; this would help to redress the shortage of such areas in Winchester, as noted in the Local Plan. And it would enhance the special character of Winchester.
In short, this whole project is ill-conceived and needs to be re-thought.
I saw the Station Approach display in the Guildhall last week. I was appalled.
There is little to choose between the two schemes.
Far from being a Station Area treatment, there are two quite independent sites; no attempt has been made to improve traffic flow from Stockbridge Road which has been a long standing problem.
Both represent a total repudiation of Sir Colin Stansfield Smith's County Record Office scheme, which created a brilliant open space in front of the station. Removing the Register Office building gave an opportunity to enhance the station hill; instead the proposals encroach further on the space.
The designs suggest a link with the “factory roof” of the Records Office, which works well in that application, and the height of the main room, but is its least pleasing external feature, and dubious for office space envisaged here. No attempt has been made to link with the distinctive Station architecture.
Both sites look as if the developer has tried to cram as many square feet of building as possible into the site. Normally one would expect such excess to be refused Planning Permission; since the Developer and the Planning Department both work for the City Council, I despair.
This competition has become a farce which should be terminated now and rethought before it becomes more embarrassing for the Council. Three of the five shortlisted submissions have been withdrawn. Of the two remaining submissions, one mentions the Cattlemarket site only in the caption to a small drawing on the final page, while the other includes detailed (and, unfortunately, banal) proposals for this site. If the Council wishes to consider proposals for the Carfax site alone, this should be a condition for all entries.
The “team B” proposal is peppered with meaningless jargon, much of which echoes the Brief’s aims without in any way clarifying how these are to be achieved. I began to note down examples but soon stopped as it became clear that I should end up copying out most of the display. Here are a few, however:
“space to facilitate and celebrate the convergence of different transport modes”
“integrate and utilise the topography” (is it possible to make a building without doing this?)
“places for people”
“safe environment for all”
“vacuous open spaces” (are these supposed to be a good thing? One wonders, as vacuousness is a prime quality of the proposal)
“defined urban grain”
The buildings illustrated in the team B proposal are banal in concept and detailing, as well as being too tall and bulky for the site (the latter is probably unavoidable given the brief). The idea of echoing Winchester’s historical features in the rooflines, materials and surfaces results in uninspiring buildings without any original flair.
The team B effort gives no real thought to the public realm, landscaping and transport routes. It is not enough to print a map of the area with a few lines, arrows and annotations.
The team C submission is more interesting, and does discuss traffic, walking and cycling routes, public spaces and the massing of buildings in a more thoughtful way. The building designs shown are more interesting than those of team B. If one of these schemes had to be chosen I would opt for C. But if a national competition can end up with only these two submissions, there must be something wrong, either with the Council’s original concept, or with its formulation of the Design Brief.
Planning of roads, traffic management, cycle paths, pedestrian routes and landscaping and planting of public spaces are vital to any major development in this area. If the City Council wishes to press ahead with this redevelopment it should give higher priority to these needs, backed by guaranteed resources and collaboration with the County Council.
We were promised a competition of top architects offering designs that would be considered by the jury, residents and the wider public. We have not got this, three of the five chosen architects dropped out and only one design has been submitted for the Worthy Lane car park site. This is simply unacceptable.
The one design relating to the Worthy Lane site ( bidder B) is small and confusing. Although the stated aim is to improve the frontages onto Worthy Lane and Andover Road. It is not clear to me what the frontages would look like. There is insufficient detail.
The design from bidder B appears to be sketchy and not well thought through.
The heights of the buildings on the Worthy Lane site are unacceptably high and crammed together. Bearing in mind that the ground rises one can effectively add a storey. This will remove light from the facing properties.
Given the heights of the buildings they are too close to the road. There should be a larger landscaped area fronting the road.
The building pattern is far too dense given the heights of the buildings.
The proposed density of the site will lead to massive traffic congestion. We do not know what the effect of the Barton Farm development will be.Traffic calming and crossings will need to be installed on Worthy Lane.
One would have to be naive indeed to think that the proposals as suggested are made to improve the area. It is clearly about maximising commercial profit. Winchester has a long history and short term decisions base on very little are clearly not in the interests of the city.
Returned from viewing the Guildhall displays feeling disappointed, downhearted and pessimistic. Were these two design solutions really the best that professionals could come up with? Were they seriously “high quality”? Surely Winchester does deserve better.
I was troubled by how unimaginative and uneven the two solutions were. How the C proposal particularly for the Cattlegate area avoided any useful detail and in contrast was struck by the oppressive scale and awkward aesthetic character of the B designs for both Carfax and Cattlegate.
Did the planned Carfax buildings have to be so tall ?
I tried to visualise what it would be like to arrive by train at Winchester ten years hence and what my first impressions would be. Not a happy vision! The B designs for the Station Approach at Carfax and Cattlegate proposed buildings that from any angle will dominate the area and I fail to believe that this would enhance any first impression of this so called “gateway” to the city.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the large scale of the buildings remains attractive to the Winchester City Council as more money will be realised through commercial rents. Perhaps both proposals are a natural consequence of a brief where the overriding emphasis is economic and merely reflect the questionable plan to develop Winchester as “ a commercial hub” regardless of the concerns of the existing Winchester community.
On leaving the Guildhall I speculated on why three of the original 5 architects had dropped out of the competition. Perhaps these more qualified souls than I had recognised in time the inherent flaws in WCC expectations. More likely they were reluctant to be part of a costly scheme that would change irrevocably an area that for whatever its limitations currently retains a more human scale and spacious character. Conceivably their disengagement reflected their recognition that similar to the Silver Hill fiasco serious trouble loomed ahead. Time to get out.
WCC reassures us that they are still at an early age in the process of bringing these sites for development. I would suggest that neither of the two designs that were on display is adequate and that it is time for WCC to think again.
I visited the exhibition yesterday and was greeted by an officer who seemed keen to display the boards relating to Bid B, while skating over those provided by Bidder C. My heart sank, as I considered the sheer scale and mass, and boring blockishness of the buildings proposed by both bidders. There was also no CGI or detailed design shown for what is proposed for the Cattlegate site.
The whole concept of a Design Dialogue is premature. We need a city-wide vision, or framework, which provides the scope for development projects in a way that the infrastructure (including transportation) can sustain. We must take time to work out what this tiny City needs. I pointed out that it’s all arsy versy in any event, because you cannot work out any designs for superstructure without knowing what’s underneath the surface. The word archaeology doesn’t feature either in the Design Brief or on any of the Exhibition Panels, and yet it could be prohibitively costly, even before you have worked out the costs of foundation piling, lift pits, etc.
So much of the Cattlegate area encompasses the large Roman Lankhills Cemetery, while there lies an Iron Age Fort and children’s burial ground under the Carfax part of the site (where they want to dig out a two storey underground car park which would destroy any remains discovered). All sorts of archaeology waits to be explored and possibly exposed - just like with Silver Hill. We need to be exploiting our history and our heritage, not driving piles into irreplaceable remains and artefacts - and not bulldozing lovely Victorian buildings in order to stack up huge office blocks and residential flats which will lie empty rather like in the centre of Reading, around the old cathedral remains, and Basingstoke. Or South Croydon. People don’t come here to occupy office blocks, or to do their functional shopping in superstores: that’s not our bag.
I was told there were businesses desperate for office space next to the station. I asked why offices couldn’t be built up at Winnall, replacing some of the older, less attractive industrial units. However, it seems the businesses concerned don’t want to be ‘that far away’ from the station and the town centre. I asked why we couldn’t establish a public transport hub on both sides of the station, with small Hoppa-type buses, with low level access, buzzing around town - into the centre and also to St Cross, Badger Farm and South P&R, to Barton Farm in the North, to the Worthies, to Winnall and to the new Leisure Facility if it is built at Bar End. He said the roads were too narrow for bus lanes: well if there’s less traffic coming into town, we don’t need them, say I. Oh but people want more parking he replies, not less. BUT what happens when we have 2,000 new units of accommodation at Barton Farm? There’s no more surface car park at Chesil Street. What happens when the new surgery takes up the Upper Brook Street car park? Have you recently tried to squeeze your car into the station or Cattlegate car parks, or Tower Street, or Middle Brook Street, or The Brooks?? And every access point into the City is so very narrow - City Bridge, Durngate Bridge, Romsey Road coming into the Westgate, Southgate Street as it joins the Upper High Street, etc…not to mention suffocating our City centre residents and visitors with air-borne pollutants.
I wondered why the public were being permitted to give their views on these two competing designs at this stage. If the majority either reject them both, or are overwhelmingly in favour of one while the jury panel recommend the other - which is then accepted by Cabinet next week - what does that say about the Council’s response to public consultation?
I fear this is another expensive train crash in the making.
I distinctly remember being reassured (probably at a public meeting) that the Tibbalds reports were now no longer relevant, and separately that they carried no weight in planning terms, i.e. would not feature in the Local Plan etc. Now I see they are quoted in the brief and clearly influenced the two schemes now on display. Tibbalds stated firmly that there were no buildings in the area of any historic significance. That must be why the register office has been swept away and the station is dwarfed by the proposed megaliths.
Neither of these schemes has any shred of local distinctiveness, despite the cutesy depictions (and stomach churning doggerel) of the Frink statue and the round table. The local roof line referred to looks more like Mozetta than any vernacular.
Both schemes are bloated and oversized, driven I suspect by the amount of parking required by the council. The same requirement was at the root of many of the Silver Hill problems.
Three architects pulled out, others are said to have rejected the over-prescriptive brief outright. The two remaining should be brave enough to tell the client - WCC - that what it wants cannot deliver an appropriate design.
Be brave, councillors - just say no.
SIR. Here we go again! Our beautiful city threatened once more with a development totally out of scale with its natural footprint. What possible reason (except to increase the size of the the Council’s coffers) could there be for increasing the population of our already over-crowded town, which should have had, years ago, special protection. It is, after all, our ancient capital. Winchester does not need more offices and shops (there are plenty of empty ones already); it is Winchester’s comparative ‘smallness’ and its antiquity that tourists come to see. To build a large office block in front of our pretty little station and to choose a ‘commercial hub’ to replace our existing cattle market car park, seems to me to be pure vandalism. What fun the Council officers must have had dreaming up this awful and quite unnecessary scheme!
R.P. ( Letter published in the Hampshire Chronicle (19/5/16).
As far as Design B is concerned, it obviously ticks all the boxes in terms of the financial viability of the scheme according to the criteria/targets set down by WCC. However it is a very 'safe' and boring design - Hampshire Vernacular - again! Surely we could have something more original in architectural terms.
Design C on the other hand had some original and imaginative ideas in architectural terms, but then the ideas were adapted to fit the Council's financial criteria and the result is a horrible mess and mass of large scale buildings, without any breathing space on the Carfax site. The whimsy is the 'artists impression' of the Cattlemarket site is of no use whatsoever.
Thus we have an apple and pear comparison, or rather a rotten apple (Design B) and a half-eaten pear (Design C). BOTH ARE ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE in my view. There can be no 'choice' between them. These designs are simply not good enough for Winchester. I feel another Silver Hill style disaster is in the making if the Council go-ahead with either one of them.
Brace yourself! It reminds me of Basingstoke, around the station area there. The architecture of one of the designs of the main office building by the station I don't have a problem with as such - it’s just being built in the wrong place. Poor little adjacent station building! And I’m afraid you Worthy Laners will not like what is being proposed for the Cattlemarket in the other scheme…
I just hope Cabinet have the good sense (did I say that?) to ditch these schemes before any more money is wasted.
Neither plan gave any ideas about how the frontage would look example materials used and overall visual impression from street level.
WCC design brief states 60,000 square foot of office space at Carfax and I think these plans offered 90,000 square foot. If this is the case could the office blocks be lower? And in keeping, make the accommodation blocks lower as well?
There was no comment at all about traffic congestion, additional pollution, added pressures of other new developments etc. all of which we are all very worried about but which wcc seem to be forgetting completely.
The displays show the thinking of the 2 remaining architects in the 'competition' and seem reflect the ambitions of a Council keen to cram in as much as possible. That 3 out of the original 5 firms dropped out of the race raises serious questions about the validity of the scale of council aspirations for the area. The 2 sets of proposals shown cannot be sensibly compared bearing in mind that B covers both Carfax and Cattle Market whilst C only covers Carfax.
The design brief required plans for 60,000 sq. feet of office space on Carfax. These plans seem to show significantly more than this - reports in the News this week refer to 80,000 sq. feet. Is this correct and if so what justification is there for this?
Both proposals show building heights (or 'massing' as they call it) on an unacceptable scale.
The impact of putting car parking underground - with attendant increased costs - appears to translates into the 'need' for more office building and residential building to ensure ‘commercial viability’.
In 'B' the scale of office building at the junction of Worthy Lane and Andover Road - dwarfing the historic dwellings in Hyde Close opposite within a Conservation area is completely inappropriate, repeating earlier mistakes initially made by the earlier Tibbalds report.
No amount of language describing a picture of ‘an attractive network of lanes and courtyards' or the inclusion of computer generated images of happy commuters chatting in sun drenched squares can hide the more likely reality that we will be left with ; that is one of rather dismal alleyways shadowed by the adjacent tall buildings, punctuated by small 'pockets' of little used public space.
Currently the whole area suffers from excessive traffic congestion. Building 2000 homes at Barton Farm will make this worse. Building on this scale in and around the station area will not address this problem at all ; it will make it significantly worse and inevitably impact adversely on existing residents , visitors and local business.
What on earth is the thinking behind the ugly concrete clock 'landmark' on Sussex Street ?
Given the weight of public opinion supporting retention of the Register Office it is surprising that neither of the 2 proposals have chosen to integrate this into their schemes.
SH and JDH
A note about office space in the plans. I have just received this information from an Officer at WCC.
Bearing in mind that the original design brief specified:
Carfax 60,000 sq ft.
Cattle Market 80,000 sq ft.
Total 140,000 sq ft.
The designs submitted by Bidder B are for:
Carfax 81,805 sq ft
Cattle Mkt 58,953 sq ft
Total 140,758 sq ft.
The designs submitted by Bidder C are for:
Carfax 97,198 sq ft.
Cattle mkt. 82,462 sq ft.
Total 179,660 sq ft.
Now thats interesting !
Comments from a former resident.
I am in Canada and cannot inspect this in person but it would appear the architecture is just bland and lacks inspiration, rather like the dreary Silver Hill architecture. Northgate Yard and Proposed Station square look dull.
What ever happened to “create a high quality and welcoming arrival ‘gateway’ point” ?
“demonstrate a high standard of architectural, highway and landscape design”. ?
It would appear that yet again we have lots of cube buildings with little variation of local material and lots of square windows.
I refer to “View looking down Sussex Street towards new Residential building and Clock “
The building at the bottom is again anyplace cubed building put together with rolled steel joists and windows hung on this. This is perfectly acceptable on an industrial site but not here.
The last page Carfax Site Proposal
The photo at the top shows very disappointing building, but at least not ugly.
There are just too many squares and rectangles presumably because it is so easy to build? There is nothing for the eye to rest on or show any sign of human life?
The photograph at the bottom with the proposed new building next to Gladstone Street shows what is wrong. In the Gladstone Street buildings you see a variation of material, curves above the door, window ledges of a different material and something that is not mass produced. It has the feel of something that has been designed by an architect and built by humans.
The building to the left the new building has been designed by a computer and factory produced, there is nothing original to it.
I would like to comment on the Bids presented by WCC for the development of The Carfax and Cattle Market sites. I was unable to send you my comments via the Monkey Survey as suggested as my husband had already sent in his comments and it would not allow another submission.
Firstly I wish to point out that the plans were extremely difficult to read and unclear. Road names were usually absent and when they did appear they were inaccurate e.g. Surrey Street instead of Sussex Street and also Gladstone Road instead of Gladstone Street. This is evidence of a sloppy approach.
I have a sense of deja vu in that WCC has yet again presented a development that ignores the wishes of Winchester residents in favour of financial imperatives. Both schemes ignore the context of the sites and their relation within a whole. No acknowledgement is made of other developments that are in the pipeline, e.g. Barton Farm. and the impact they will have on the area from the increase in traffic etc standpoint.
Why is there a need for a Gateway? The proposed ‘gateway’ will only result in obscuring the entrance to Winchester from the north and because of the topography blight any view of the city from all aspects. Once again we have a ‘...partially glimpsed’ view of Winchester Cathedral from Andover Road which would certainly endanger the life of any pedestrian attempting to cross as drivers struggle to ‘glimpse’.
What has happened to the wish of the citizens to retain The Register Office? It appears to have been ignored by Bid B. The scale of the buildings in Bid B are out of scale with the surrounding buildings, will dominate the skyline and are yet another banal and boring design in the modern vernacular. Bid B throws a sop to some recognition of the architectural mix that makes Winchester so fascinating with its ‘cut and paste’ influences on its design, but the result is risible.
Surely we deserve better?
Bid C is at first sight more interesting in its design for The Carfax site, but what has happened to the Cattle Market site? Two blocks of parking appear but nothing else.
Bid B completely ignores the importance and significance of the archaeological site of The Cattle Market as a Roman Cemetery, let alone the financial implications of archaeological investigations that must precede any building. During Medieval times until the 19th century The Cattle Market site was Hop Fields and then developed into the magnificent gardens of Highfield Lodge. Charabancs came down from London to view these gardens. Is there no way this rich history can be acknowledged?
Further, there appears to be absolutely no recognition of the existence of the Conservation Area which begins with Worthy Lane. The scale of the office block on the corner of Worthy Lane and Andover Road is overbearing and even 2 story residential buildings opposite the Victorian terrace will seriously affect light and quality of life because of the changes in ground level which at that point is quite dramatic.
Finally, where does WCC think that the cars that at present park on The Cattle Market site, which is generally filled to capacity are going to park?.
I urge WCC to rethink and consider before they commit to another Silver Hill disaster and to question whether this development is, as the Tibbald’s report suggested, financially unviable and ill-advised.
PREVIOUS LETTERS RECEIVED 2015-16
Letter of the week!
(Recently published in Hampshire Chronicle)
I was somewhat disappointed to see the partial endorsement of the Council’s Station Approach consultations with various groups given by the chair of C of W Trust in response to Councillor Godfrey’s earlier letter.As a founder member of the Station Area Neighbourhood Group (SANG) I can only say that our view of these ‘consultations’ is less rosy.
Whilst it is the case that amendments have been made to each version of the ‘Design Brief’ and also that some important changes seem to have been made to the all important Local Plan, P. 2 - it would be surprising if this were not the case - when it comes to matters of real substance, key concerns of residents simply continue to be ignored.
Despite a huge amount of opposition from those who live and work in the City in all so called ‘consultation meetings’, the Cabinet and its officers continue to push ahead with their plan to turn this area into a Commercial Hub. The plan to fill existing open space with more and more office blocks remains unchanged and they continue to sidestep reasonable and serious questions concerning the inevitable increase in congestion and air pollution that will follow. The impact of building 2000 homes at Barton Farm on this area barely seems to register! The plan to shift more parking to Gladstone Street and cut the available space on the Cattle Market/Worthy Lane site is not only in direct contravention of their own parking policy but will create real problems for residents, visitors and local business and is frankly absurd.
On the positive side it is good now to see more vocal concern being expressed by our ward councillors but the sad truth seems to be that decisions about our future continue to be made by those who for the most part represent rural wards and who themselves do not live in Winchester.
Station Area Neighbourhood Group (SANG).
18th October 2015
"In April 2015 the UK Supreme Court ruled that any incoming government must make tackling air pollution one of its priorities. The UK has consistently breached EU pollution limits even though air pollution causes more than 29,000premature deaths each year and is linked with heart and respiratory diseases.
The UK has failed in its legal duty to protect people from the harmful effects of air pollution. The consequent illnesses represent a huge burden to an already over-stretched NHS.
Winchester City Council is guilty of a breach of EU pollutlon regulations and is under threat of being fined by the EU for this failure.Meanwhile, however, it is wanting to move forward with ambitious development projects, some of which involve building on those surface peripheral car parks
which reduce traffic driving into the city centre.
Winchester City Council is at present considering borrowing in excess of £19 million pounds to help finance the development of the Carfax and Cattlemarket sites alone.
Should it consider borrowing a few million more in order to pay the threatened EU fine ? Any new construction is inevitably going to result in a dramatic increase in
levels of pollution. Of course this will be exacerbated in the near future when Barton Farm is up and running.
If The City Council is borrowing such a large amount of money, should we not be told from whom and at what cost? And has the Council considered the costs to the people of Winchester, not only financially but also in terms of health and quality of life?"
Imogen Dawson’s report "The Commercial Hub Conundrum" is well-researched and rigorous, and should be widely disseminated.
Winchester City Council policy in recent years flies increasingly, as she demonstrates, in the face of much earlier policy, such as removing car-parking from the centre of town. She has burrowed into historical documents for her findings; another such is the first Ordnance Survey map, surveyed in the early 1870s, which shows Highfield Lodge (the Conservative or Winchester Club) surrounded by parkland, with a fine sweep of a drive up from the corner of Worthy Lane and Andover Road. If there is a need for office accommodation - and it’s understood Denplan would like to relocate, although the decision may not be up to the local directors - then a restored and refurbished Highfield Lodge as the centre of a low-key business park, on the model of IBM at Hursley Park although on a vastly smaller scale, could be as asset to the area, with landscaping and some discrete new buildings of appropriate height.
The 1870 Imperial Gazetteer referred to mentions the numbers of brewers and maltsters in the city. One of these was Giles Henry Fielder, who inherited the Chesil Brewery from his father, and lived in Highfield Lodge. He played a significant role in the sanitation debates that divided Winchester for so many decades - the arguments between the muckabites, refusing to pay a rate for the installation of a proper drainage system, and the anti-muckabites, who insisted that the high rates of cholera and other fatal diseases spread by the ‘miasma’ of uncollected and untreated sewage were unacceptable.
Winchester City Council’s initial consultants on the Station Area decided that Highfield Lodge was unimportant, and besides had been rendered worthless by additions and alterations. In fact much of the interior is unchanged, and additions are just that, and can easily be removed. Happily their sloppy conclusion may now be ignored, in the new round of consultation, but it was shocking that the Council would have allowed it to stand had it not been for the public outcry - which led to the formation of SANG.
All power to your campaigning - and researching, and writing - elbow.
Send us your photo?
If changes are going to be made to our own Station Approach area perhaps the least we can do is to learn from the best. Over the summer it would be great if SANG supporters could be on the lookout for really attractive railway stations which you consider to be examples of good design. These will be posted on the website.
Please email photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear SANG members,
Signage and the Hampshire Record Office.
I read this interesting aside in a book entitled “Schools of Thought. Hampshire Architecture 1974-1991,” it was written by Richard Weston and published by the Hampshire County Council in 1991. The following extract concerning the, then unbuilt, Hampshire Record Office I found both perverse and amusing. “Centrally sited near to the railway station, its form is influenced by the perceived need to provide a diagonal pedestrian short-cut across the site towards the city-centre.” The book itself is both comprehensive and informative in its content, the Record Office was then built and the short-cut duly put in place through a tree-lined “garden” at the rear of the building. Sadly despite the book being written by the County Council, neither that body or the Winchester City Council, who were heavily involved in the design and construction of the building, perceived the need to put up sign posts to let people into the closely kept secret that the path was there.
At a recent meeting of the Winchester business community the question was raised about the general lack of signage to direct people to and from the station approach area and the Cattle Market and Gladstone Street car parks. An officer of the council answered that this lack of signage would be addressed as part of any future development and any interim measures would be in the form of a “sticking plaster approach.” Correct me if I am wrong but a sticking plaster is used to cover wounds to speed recovery and restore broken or damaged flesh. I feel that a sticking plaster approach to signage would only be possible if there were existing signs that were in some way broken or damaged.
Nearly a quarter of a century has passed since the building was erected and during this period and for some time before it surprises me that no “interim measures” have been put in place nor indeed any sign posts.
Photo of the week !
We have so often heard 'planners and developers' make very negative comments about the appearance of Winchester Railway Station - as they justify the need for wholesale development in the area. Comments like this often baffle residents and visitors we meet who comment so favourably on the 'Station Approach'.
Well if you want to compare our station with one from another 'Cathedral City', I suggest that you look at one that really is crying out for improvement!! SH 29/4/15
Other recent comments from local people.
From the point of view of my Bed and Breakfast business, many of my guests arrive by car. Currently they either pay to park in the Worthy Lane car park and generally feel quite happy to park their cars within view of the house. I believe many would feel less comfortable about parking in a multi-storey car park, particularly if they had to walk to Gladstone Street to do so. I also have a couple of guest house parking permits which enable guests to park either on Andover Road or in streets in Hyde. I suspect that there will be increasing pressure on these parking spaces for both my guests and residents if the proposed developments go ahead.
From a business perspective, not only is my trade likely to be affected by inappropriate development but any loss of business for me is also likely to have an impact on local restaurants and shops used by my guests.
I just wanted to say that any development scheme of the cattle market should be stopped right now. As for Winchester council ,they have shown by the Silver Hill fiasco to be unable to develop anything properly and in keeping with this once lovely city.
The revenue from parking must be enormous (it is always full during the week), and the Sunday car boot brings hundreds of visitors to Winchester to spend money and enjoy ,whilst benefitting local charities.
Do we need any more development? NO ,lets improve what there is already.
Do we need the loss of any more town car parks? NO.
Do we need any more Leisure centres ? NO.
Do we need anymore expensive development fiascos by the council? NO.
Does everyone have to park outside Winchester.? No or in multi story ? No .
There is plenty of space in empty industrial units ,of which there are many ,for leisure centres and it would keep users outside the city centre.
Also haven't we got enough Costas ,hairdressers,building societies ,estate agents. fast food palaces etc without making a new space for more ,lets have some smaller shops ,but then they can’t afford to be in Winchester .I wonder why?
Please use my comments as I feel very strongly about this .
With kind regards
CGI agree that we need an integrated vision for the whole of Winchester that takes a high level view rather than a fragmented piecemeal approach. It needs to be focused on giving the city a heart which meets community needs rather than developers' needs. You only have to see how popular a space the green in front of the Cathedral is in the summer to get a sense of what could be designed in if a little vision was used.
Impacting on us, in Gladstone Street particularly, would be the height of any new buildings. Also there is mention of a transport hub, but how can there be one when transport is spread so ineffectively across town? All transport bases need bringing together in our area, I feel: train, bus, taxi & coach stations, ensuring Winchester is a more attractive option for visitors arriving by train. Not planning for this would be an opportunity wasted.
What concerns me: no-one seems to be talking about better drop-off and pick-up points at the station, especially for the less mobile. At present there is no designated drop-off point, and the short-term parking for picking up rail passengers is quite inadequate and difficult to use. They should look at Eastleigh or Southampton Parkway stations to see these facilities done properly.
On the two meetings the Council held for Stakeholder groups in February 2015, it was pretty emphatically agreed that before anything can happen in the station area a full transport study is needed, and not just confined to the area within the red line on the maps at the meeting. How many people are coming in, going out, what transport method are they using (including feet), what time are they travelling, are they changing transport modes etc.etc. Real experts need to collect all the information and evaluate it properly - not another WCC collection of hand-picked 'facts'. I don't see how the strength of this message at the meeting I was at can have failed to get through.
I very much share the concerns about the plans to develop the area and have already given my feedback to the Council when this proposal was first raised. I live in Headbourne Worthy and park every day at Worthy Lane car park to commute to London from the station. I tried using public transport when I first moved here in 2013 but the bus service in the early morning and especially in the evening is extremely poor particularly now that they have cancelled the last bus.
The points I raised with the Council was the fact that for those travelling in from my direction, being able to park safely without driving further into the town centre and adding to the existing congestion was invaluable. The car park is very well used during the week and as I have a monthly pass I also use it at weekends to shop in Winchester centre which I would be unlikely to do otherwise due to the congestion.It seems to me that this is a step too far alongside all the other large building projects which will gravely affect residents.
I believe the station approach area has potential for change but the City Council has shown itself over the years, the decades, incapable of making the right decisions on such matters and incapable of managing such changes.
Winchester has evolved piecemeal over 2,000 years and there seems to me there's no good reason for changing that: a few suggestions, good, a general framework good, but a plan, with every building drawn up to the last window catch, no. If they start talking about 'public art' this early in the discussion, we should hear alarm bells ringing.
If councillors and officers ever thought the Brooks would pull in the shoppers, if they let the Chesil Street offices stay empty for years, if the Friarsgate car park is now unsafe, if they considered building on the Rec, if they thought seven-storey blocks would be acceptable at Silver Hill, their judgement and experience is not up to masterminding development of the station area.
The main issue for us is the probable degradation of our environment in return for "benefits" promised by the Council which seem to us dubious or uncertain - increased commercial activity and inner-city population density as a route to prosperity and increased employment. Employment is high in Winchester but there is a mismatch between jobs and residents, resulting in heavy daily traffic into and out of the City, which the Council's plans will do little to improve.
None of us has the expertise and inside information needed to make an economic judgement of the Council's position. They, in effect, say "we know best, trust us" - but we don't. It is doubly irritating to be told that our local neighbourhood, with its open spaces, modest scale and greenery, is sorely in need of a facelift, an "improvement" that can be brought about by more buildings.
Major developments, such as Barton Farm, Pitt Manor, Chesil Street, River Park and Silver Hill will have a major impact on the historic city centre for at least the next decade and will affect the whole of Winchester, including the Station Approach area. Some key policies embedded in the current re-development proposals have not been reviewed since 2009, particularly those concerning retail, office and work spaces and housing provision. Since then the market has changed radically, affecting patterns of work, leisure, transport and communication. This has been accompanied by increasing environmental concerns - from climate change, air/noise pollution (mainly caused by traffic congestion) to the need for the preservation or provision of public open spaces, 'green lungs' in cities. Concerns for conservation relate not only to the natural environment but also to the built environment. This is particularly important for the preservation of the heritage and unique character of historic cities such as Winchester. 'Shaping the future' for Station Approach should take all these factors into account. The current re-development proposals certainly do not and should be thrown out.
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