Report praises Winchester’s approach to planning

Press Release: 11/11/2014

English Heritage has commissioned a report to look at the implication of proposed development on cathedral cities and historic towns and the effectiveness of local plan-making in protecting England’s heritage.

The Sustainable Growth of Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns report praises Winchester City Council’s approach to planning and the urban extension at Barton Farm, with the masterplan respecting Winchester’s heritage and the way in which the city has previously developed.

It states that the evidence-base for preparing policy and for making planning decisions was excellent. It says that the Core Strategy made specific reference to protecting the settings of the historic town and that, as a council, Winchester gave built heritage a significant place in forward-thinking and aiming to use high quality design.

The report’s authors say:

Over a long period officers have worked hard to achieve a scheme sympathetic to the spirit of Winchester, and councillors too have had sufficient faith to continue promoting an urban extension rather than select other choices.

The report commissioned by English Heritage looks at how cities like Bath, Oxford, Durham and Winchester have handled the pressures of development on their historic environment.
Cllr Victoria Weston, the City Council’s portfolio holder for built environment, said:

It is very heartening that an independent report should comment so favourably on the quality of our response to such difficult issues and that it says: ‘The overall impression from the figures is that heritage has rarely been a key consideration in the selection of a housing allocation to a city. Only in Winchester is there clear evidence that heritage has influenced the allocation, with some evidence for it in Oxford.

What this report shows is that the City Council has demonstrated a long-term concern for our historic setting to influence the master-planning and detailed design of new development.