Winchester’s historic Square to have a new look

Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council have formally given the go ahead for Winchester’s historic Square to have a new look. Mildren Construction, who carried out the repaving of the High Street , have been appointed as the contractor and will start work on the scheme on the 4 July.

Earlier this year, Winchester’s residents and businesses were asked their views on proposals to repave pavements and part of the road in The Square with natural stone to make it more attractive for shopping and tourism, while limiting traffic access, and 78% of respondents supported this.

Taking advantage of extra government funding for road repairs as part of Operation Resilience, the project will include enhanced structural reconstruction as well as drainage improvements before it is finished with high quality stone and surfacing. The work will involve a temporary closure of The Square, Market Street and part of Great Minster Street for approximately five months.

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.

Councillor Ken Thornber, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said “Once the work is complete, The Square will be much more in keeping with the rest of Winchester, and be firmly on the map as part of the destination for tourists and shoppers among the museums, cathedral and high street shops.

“We will be working very hard to minimise disruption during the works, and would like to emphasise that all shops, cafés and restaurants will be open for business as usual at all times as access for everyone will be maintained throughout.”

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.”

The Winchester High Street repaving scheme, also carried out by Mildren Construction and completed in 2010, was awarded the Community Benefit Award at the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) South East Awards on June 10.