The Handle Bar Cafe – A SPUD Youth Project

After months of meticulous planning, it has all come down to the final week before members of SPUD Youth unveil the proposed plans to Winchester City Council for the design idea of a new cycle café which is intended to be located on the disused railway bridge, off Garnier Road and below St Catherine’s Hill.

The Cycle Cafe project started over a year ago when Mark Drury, Principal Associate of SPUD ( set up a SPUD Youth group in Winchester. The group provided an opportunity for young, budding designers to develop concepts for creating a new cycle cafe to be located along the national cycle route connecting Winchester with Hockley Viaduct. An exciting array of potential designs were generated and after careful consideration, Alexander Grice’s concept was chosen. His design comprised the use of a decommissioned train carriage to be placed on top of a disused railway bridge and will be used as a cafe. The site may also contain a cycle repair shop and a variety of outdoor seating. This promising design will tie together both the history of the site and the requirements of the public whilst trying to encourage more visitors to the area on bikes and by foot.

Over Easter, a team of over twenty volunteers, including young people with a passion for architecture, students studying architecture at Portsmouth University supported by professional architects, surveyors and planners, gathered at the Architecture PLB offices in Winchester. Over 4 intensive days of workshops they collaborated and began to refine and eventually realise the final design.

Eloise Appleby, the City Council’s Assistant Director (Economy and Communities), said:
“The concept of a cycle café on the Viaduct Way has really caught the imagination of local people, and especially of Winchester Town Forum Members. As a City Council we have been keen to support cycling: we have brought back the Winchester Criterium cycle race; brought about the use of the South Park and Ride as a Sunday cycle track, and led the project to complete National Cycle Network Route 23 through the centre of the City. Now we have funded this innovative week-long workshop, co-ordinated by SPUD, to explore whether the cycle café could be the next big idea to encourage cycling – and walking – along the Viaduct Way. We will be looking closely at the feasibility of such a project in engineering terms and the viability of a café operation at that location. We are grateful to all those who have given their time to support the week, and look forward to seeing the results in due course.”

Mark Drury of SPUD says: “This has been an incredible opportunity and journey for all the young people involved. They’ve worked alongside a wide range of talented professionals to develop their skills and confidence. The chance to work on a live design proposal from concept to completion has challenged them to look at all the aspects of creating a new community facility in a sensitive and historic environment.

There will be a public exhibition on the 8th and 9th June at ArchitecturePLB’s offices on St Thomas Street, Winchester from 9am -5pm to showcase all of the design ideas and processes.

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