Following the recent online public consultation on the Central Winchester Regeneration draft development proposals, Winchester City Council will consider next steps for the site at a Cabinet meeting to be held on 10 March 2021.

This is an important and exciting opportunity to improve the centre of Winchester for future generations, and to support the city centre economy post-pandemic.

Feedback received from the public on the proposals has been important to help shape the proposed next steps. The development proposals include creating a vibrant mixed-use development with high quality new homes, flexible workspaces, a thriving night-time economy and beautiful public spaces.

During the consultation period, which ran from 11 November 2020 to 12 January 2021, over 2,500 people visited the virtual exhibition and over 100 attended an online consultation session. There were also over 3,000 engagements on social media.

Over 300 people also completed a detailed feedback questionnaire. All feedback has been considered and all comments made, grouped by theme, as well as a response from the council addressing each of these, are available on the council website, along with a link to the full questionnaire responses posted on Citizen Space.

Of those who answered the question ‘Overall, do you support the development proposals for the Central Winchester Regeneration area?’ – 68% confirmed that they did. Feedback also demonstrated a very high level of support for key elements of the development proposals, in particular affordable housing, flexible workspaces, opening up the waterways and improved public realm. There were more mixed views on plans for managing movement around the site, particularly around parking and buses. Some concerns were also expressed about the proposed delivery route using a single development partner.

This is a complex development which will take place incrementally. The proposed next stage for the project includes short term measures encouraging longer visits to the City Centre, with improvements to the ground floor of Kings Walk and the surrounding public realm, and creating an attractive temporary open space on the site of the old Friarsgate Medical Centre. The best way to deliver the medium-to-long term vision for the creative hub at Kings Walk is being considered.  Settling on the best option to deliver the interim on-street bus solution to unlock the development site is important too. More work is also being done to inform the best way to deliver the development proposals for the long term across the wider site, and a preferred way forward will be presented at a Cabinet meeting in the summer for approval to progress.

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

“This is such an important site, for the future of the city, for our economic prosperity and for future generations who may want to make Winchester their home. It is an exciting opportunity and we must get it right. We are very encouraged by the feedback from the public during what was a very comprehensive public consultation, and can now concentrate on the elements of the proposals that we would like to give more thought to, as well as those where we are able to press ahead.

We are determined to see this under-utilised, wasted space in the very heart of our beautiful city come to life and look forward to making the aspirations set out in the Central Winchester Supplementary Planning Document a reality, at the best time, in the right way, for the benefit of all.”