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Open Forum unveils changes ahead for Friarsgate Medical Centre and progress on plans for Central Winchester

The site of the old Friarsgate Medical Centre is set for a major transformation. Revealed at the Central Winchester Regeneration Open Forum hosted last night (22 November 2021), Winchester City Council has been working on plans to demolish the derelict building and replace it with a new area of public open space whilst plans for longer term regeneration of the site are progressed.

Proposals for the longer term plan for Central Winchester as a whole were also covered, including the outcome of the ‘Outline Business Case’ for the project that has reviewed the viability of the proposals for the site and also the proposed approach for securing a development partner to work with the council to deliver the proposals. This will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on 15 December 2021, and also at a Full Council meeting planned for 12 January 2022.

The Friarsgate Medical Centre site has been vacant for six years and the plan to demolish the building looks to address recent issues of trespass and vandalism in the area.

It will be replaced by a vibrant, attractive open space designed to encourage access to nature. The new park will be fully accessible to all, and will create a route between Friarsgate and the Broadway. The space will help to revitalise the site creating open areas for small events to be held, in collaboration with local organisations, with seating and lighting. The park will generate green space to enhance biodiversity, create a new habitat for pollinators and will be carefully managed and maintained.

Winchester City Council is inviting local people to take a look at the plans and share their views in advance of the submission of the planning application for the demolition and new park. The plans can be seen by visiting www.winchester.gov.uk/cwr, where there is also a feedback form to download and complete by 7 January 2022.

The latest on plans to improve Kings Walk and an update on the archaeology investigations underway on the site were also shared with the public at the Open Forum meeting.

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

“It was great to be able to reveal our plans for Friarsgate at the Open Forum yesterday - which will transform this long underused part of town and create an inviting place to spend time, meet with friends and enjoy the fresh air. The creation of this new space, and the planned improvements to nearby Kings Walk will herald a new lease of life for the area. This is the first step to drawing people in and making a huge difference to the vibrancy of the heart of our city. We were also pleased to be able to share the work that has been done by the Council to determine the viability of the proposals for the site that we consulted the public on earlier in the year, and the proposed approach to appointing a development partner to work with us.”

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