Winchester’s Square remains open for business as new paving scheme begins

The new joint scheme between Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council to give Winchester’s historic Square a new look, with new stone paving and high quality surfacing, will begin on Monday 4 July. As of Wednesday 6 July Market Lane and Market Street will be closed from 10am. Access to The Square after this time will be from Great Minster Street only, and will be controlled by two-way traffic signals.

The work includes road reconstruction, replacing and upgrading drainage and then finishing with natural stone paving and resurfacing to make it more attractive for shopping and tourism, while limiting traffic access.

Work is programmed to take between five and six months, depending on the weather and the condition of the road foundations once excavated, and will include a Christmas shut down period from the middle of November during the busiest shopping time of the year.

All shops, businesses, cafes, restaurants and pubs will remain fully open during the work, and essential access for businesses and residents maintained. The Square, Market Street and part of Great Minster Street will be temporarily closed to vehicles for periods during the construction works.

The scheme will be carried out by Mildren Construction, who were the contractor on the Winchester High Street repaving scheme completed last year. The Winchester High Street scheme was the winner of the Community Benefit Award ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) South East Construction Excellence Awards on June 10.

Councillor Ken Thornber, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “This scheme will bring the look and feel of The Square up to a similar standard to that of the High Street, making the area better connected with Winchester’s famous tourist destinations, restaurants and shops. I hope it will encourage more people to visit The Square and boost business there, as well as achieve a better balance between traffic and pedestrians.

“We will endeavour to keep disruption to a minimum and I would like to stress that all businesses in The Square will be open as usual throughout the work.”

Councillor George Beckett, Leader of Winchester City Council, said: “The refurbishment of The Square is great news for the City, it will provide an improved café culture atmosphere to a popular location for residents and visitors a like. We have ensured the timings of the works avoid the Hat Fair so there is no impact on this famous annual event, and look forward to being able to enjoy the benefits of this scheme during all the celebrations that will take place throughout 2012.”

A pilot 20mph speed limit covering the roads around The Square will also be advertised for comment shortly and if agreed will be implemented when the Square reopens after the refurbishment works. A Prohibition of Driving 'except for access' on Great Minster Street and The Square has now been agreed and will also be implemented when The Square refurbishment works are complete. These measures will be carefully monitored to determine their impact and benefits on residents, businesses pedestrians and cyclists in the area.