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Allies and Morrison to rethink Winchester scheme in face of local pressure - image

Allies and Morrison has gone back to the drawing board to redesign its controversial Silver Hill scheme in the heart of historic Winchester.

The £100 million mixed-use development for Thornfield Properties has been condemned by leading preservationists for being 'too large' for the famous cathedral city.

The most heated criticism has come from the influential City of Winchester Trust which has formally objected to the 'unrelenting height' of the development which, its members believe, would 'encroach on the surrounding areas'.

It now appears the architect has decided to respond to these calls to rethink the massive scheme in the rundown Silver Hill area, which includes plans for nearly 300 homes as well as shops, offices and a bus station.

Winchester City Council's chief estates officer Tony Langridge admitted the practice is currently carrying out 'significant changes' to the original designs and that the plans would have to resubmitted.

He said: 'These are not just tweaks to the existing plans. There will have to be further public consultation and we [the council] would want to see them again.'

'[The architects] have recognised the strength of the representations and are seeking to respond to them.'

However, Adam Wilkinson of SAVE Britain's Heritage believes not all the scale issues can be laid at the architect's door. He said: 'The local authority is demanding too much from the site, meaning that Allies and Morrison are left with the unenviable task of trying to squeeze it all in.

'They've done as good a job as they can with what is essentially the wrong brief for the site, resulting in a building which should not be built simply because it is too out of scale with the rest of the town.'

Allies and Morrison was unavailable for comment.

by Richard Waite

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