The original consented scheme
After careful consideration of all the issues and the preparation of a Planning Brief in 2003, the Council entered into a Development Agreement with Thornfield Properties to promote a comprehensive redevelopment, backed by the use of compulsory purchase powers if necessary.
Planning consent for a new development on the area was granted in 2009. The original consented scheme included:
- 287 residential units
- Just under 100,000 square feet of new retail space
- 18,000 square feet of office accommodation
- A new bus station
- A new public car park
- New public spaces, including improvements to the Broadway
By 2009 it had also become clear that the land necessary for the redevelopment would not be brought together by agreement between the owners and the Council therefore resolved to use compulsory purchase powers.
The Council agreed to make an order for the compulsory purchase but before further progress could be made, Thornfield Properties lost their financial backing as the credit crunch of 2008 and 2009 caused their bank to withdraw from funding commercial property schemes.
Fortunately the strength of the economy in Winchester meant that the scheme was still attractive to potential developers, and the share capital of Thornfield Properties was bought by the UK Property Fund of Henderson Global Investors - a major international company which invests money in existing and new development opportunities.