Winnall people out in force to launch new infrastructure project
Press Release: 04/02/2015
Winnall businesses and residents have wasted no time in getting involved with Winchester City Council’s latest project. A business breakfast discussion and an afternoon ‘Jamboree’ brought people out in numbers last Thursday.
The Council has commissioned consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff to develop a ten-year Planning Framework for Winnall. The aim is to ensure that there is investment in the right infrastructure to sustain a vibrant, safe and attractive neighbourhood for the future. Last Thursday saw the first two public engagement events, designed to explore the way people think about the area at present, and to understand more about the good points – and the more challenging ones – of living in Winnall.
Basepoint hosted the morning meeting for businesses, where the gathering had the ear of the Leader of the Council, Cllr Rob Humby, as well as a team of officers and the consultants working on the project. Cllr Humby said:
I was delighted to see so many business people, all with interesting thoughts to share. They definitely believe Winnall is a good place to work, but – not surprisingly – they are concerned about the perennial issues of parking and congestion, which they fear will impact on their ability to grow in future. Suggestions included improving walking and cycling routes to the city centre and station, enhancing the presentation of the neighbourhood, improving internet provision, and creating more spaces for growing businesses.
The conversation went from frustrated at the start of the meeting to very positive and productive: there was a clear wish to work with the Council and make the most of the opportunities presented by this project. I really enjoyed it.
The afternoon session for residents was held at Winnall Community Centre, and took the form of an after-school party with performances by local dance, theatre and music groups, as well as information tables and a ‘Meet the Council’ stand. Children from Winnall Junior School had produced posters showing how Winnall might look in the future, and they had the chance to share their vision with the Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Eileen Berry. Cllr Berry commented:
There is such a lot of local pride in the area, and a real sense of community. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a consultation event so much – everyone was in a good mood, and feeling positive about the future.
Deputy Leader Cllr Vicki Weston, who attended the Jamboree and who is the Council Portfolio Holder overseeing the Framework project, added:
People who live here value the great open spaces nearby as well as the ease of access to the city centre. They too have parking concerns and would like to see more pedestrian and cycle routes and generally a safer environment for travelling within the community. Residents would also like to see more facilities for teenagers – such as a skate park – and improved sports provision and general place to exercise their dogs. They are keen to have more spaces where the community can come together, and would like the quality and setting of the retail parade improved.
Anyone who missed the events is encouraged to fill in the short on-line survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/FutureWinnall
Once the consultants have compiled their ‘baseline report’ setting out the current situation in Winnall, they will move on to produce possible options for the future. Once these are ready, local people will have a further opportunity to get involved and offer their comments at a public exhibition.