Central Winchester – proposals to transform the city centre are revealed

Winchester City Council has today revealed plans to revitalise the Central Winchester Regeneration area in the heart of the city centre - and is giving all residents and businesses the chance to have their say.

The Central Winchester Regeneration Area Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) that was adopted in 2018 based on extensive public consultation, stated the site should become ‘a mixed-use, pedestrian friendly quarter that is distinctly Winchester and supports a vibrant retail and cultural / heritage offer which is set within an exceptional public realm and incorporates the imaginative re-use of existing buildings.’

Proposals to develop the site, which incorporates Winchester bus station, Kings Walk, the old Friarsgate Medical Centre and Coitbury House, include creating a vibrant mixed-use development with:

  • high quality new homes,
  • flexible workspaces,
  • a thriving night-time economy
  • and beautiful public spaces.

The council will be sharing the proposals at number of events planned for the next month and, in light of the current restrictions in place due to Covid-19, all the activities will be virtual to ensure as many people as possible are able to take part and share their thoughts on the plans.

The council will be hosting:

  • A virtual exhibition which will be laid out in the style of a traditional public exhibition with panels explaining every element of the scheme with plans and images. You can visit the exhibition via the council website at www.winchester.gov.uk/cwr
  • Four public online consultation sessions will be held on:
    • Monday 16 November 12.30pm – 2pm 
    • Tuesday 24 November 6pm – 7.30pm
    • Monday 30 November 6pm – 7.30pm
    • Thursday 3 December 10am – 11.30am

The sessions are open to all and it’s really easy to register. To join a session you can register for a place via the council website www.winchester.gov.uk/cwr

  • A questionnaire for everyone to share their feedback on the plans will be on CitizenSpace and can also be accessed at www.winchester.gov.uk/cwr. This will be open for feedback until 11 January 2021.
  • For anyone not able to access the internet, the council Customer Services team can post copies of the all the information and a feedback form. Customer services can be reached on 01962 840 222.

The council will be sharing information around ways the development will achieve the aims of the SPD in the short and medium term by blending three main elements – creating places for people to live, to work and to play. Longer term plans continue to be developed and will also be shared in due course.

Live - much needed new housing suitable for a range of people, including young people and families, will include a mix of private and affordable housing, new homes for key workers and homes for rent.

Work - flexible workspaces where people can choose how much space they need and for how long on a short-term basis will create opportunities for ambitious creative individuals and companies in the city that does not currently exist. 

Play – new spaces and buildings will bring the city’s heritage and creativity to life and create a night-time economy that the area currently lacks.

As making the city, and district, carbon neutral is a priority for the council every aspect of this development will be undertaken in a way that takes reaching this target into consideration.

The site has been designed with people, not vehicles, as a priority. There will be a network of streets to allow easy access throughout the site with connections to routes across the city. The public realm is also a crucial element of the design of the site and will create intimate, quieter spaces along the riverside to the east, with more vibrant, brighter and active areas for public performance and places to eat and socialise to the western end.

Cllr Kelsie Learney, Cabinet Member for Housing and Asset Management said: 

“Today marks a significant step forward in transforming an underused area of the city centre into a truly special place. It’s taken a huge amount of work to create viable development proposals which achieve the aspirations for this crucial site in the heart of our city. We are so grateful for all the people who took part in the consultation on the SPD and I hope everyone who lives or spends time in Winchester takes the time to look at what we are proposing today – to see what could be created here in the future to make Winchester an even better place to live, work and play.  

In these difficult times we have given lots of thought to how we can involve as many people as possible and hope that by hosting the exhibition online and inviting everyone to join an online consultation session even more people will be able to get involved and let us know what they think about our proposals – because we can’t wait to get started!”