Silver Hill Introduction


The area known as Silver Hill covers an area of approximately 2.3 hectares of central Winchester. It currently includes the bus station, Friarsgate medical centre, Kings Walk and the Friarsgate car park amongst other elements. Since the end of the 1990s the Council has been seeking the comprehensive redevelopment of this area to improve the quality of retail, residential and public space in the Silver Hill area.

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 consented scheme includes:

  • 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.

TIAA Henderson Real Estate completed all of the necessary legal processes and in July 2011 the scheme became fully active again. The Council reconsidered its decision to use compulsory purchase powers and confirmed its wish to do.

Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO)

Having made the compulsory purchase order the Council had to ask for it to be confirmed by the relevant Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Before doing so the Secretary of State holds an inquiry into any objections from people who believe that the order should not be confirmed. The inquiry is conducted by an inspector appointed for the Secretary of State by the Planning Inspectorate. The public inquiry was undertaken in June 2012. The Inspector recommended confirming the CPO and the Secretary of State agreed in 2013.

The background documents to the order, including all the various committee reports, schedules, maps and plans are available on this website.

The 2014 Scheme

Working together the Council and the developer have updated the scheme so that its design and content are fully in line with the development Winchester needs.

Winchester needs more retail space to ensure the health of the town centre. As the county town of Hampshire we have a level of employment and business activity which is much greater than would normally be the case for a place with a relatively small population. Winchester is vibrant and successful but to stay that way we have to adapt.

Bringing people to live in the city centre is a great way to enhance the evening economy and support our arts and leisure facilities, as well as pubs, cafés and restaurants.

The public realm in Silver Hill will be similar to existing Winchester spaces. We don't have large squares or wide streets so Silver Hill will reflect that character.

The scheme also has to be commercially viable. There is no point in having proposals which are impossible to achieve or implement.