Allies and Morrison's contentious Winchester plans resurrected
Developer Henderson Global Investors has kick-started Allies and Morrison’s controversial and long-running Silver Hill development in Winchester
The £135 million retail-led scheme won planning permission back in 2007 for previous project backer Thornfield Ventures. However, after Thornfield went into adminstration in early 2010, Henderson took over the 55,000m² city centre scheme but kept the scheme on the shelf until July this year to allow a ‘post-acquisition, conditional period’ to run out.
Now the developer has officialy re-started the scheme and intends to take the project, which covers almost a quarter of the historic cathedral city, through a potentially tricky Compulsory Purchase Order process (see AJ 16.04.2007).
According to Martin Perry, Henderson’s director of retail property development, this inquiry could take around 15 months. Perry confirmed the company intended to stick with the Allies and Morrison scheme - a redesign of an original proposal which was redrawn in 2006 following pressure from locals.
He said: ‘Obviously there may be a few changes, such as to the timber facade treatment, but in principle we intend to take the consented, detailed scheme through to construction.
‘We will also be looking at alterations to the retail units sizes and some of the phasing for the residential units. But we are not anticipating a wholesale redesign.
‘An application like this costs around £7-£8 million and we just can’t afford to respend that sort of money.’
He added: ‘It is a good scheme and Allies and Morrison has done a pretty good job. I’m impressed with what they’ve done.’
Perry admitted Henderson’s ‘favoured route’ was design and build and predicted Allies and morrison would be retained in an ‘executive monitoring role’ once the scheme moved toward construction, possibly as early as 2013.
The director of property also added that there was a likelihood of ‘spin-off work’ for other practices, in particular for the overhaul of other, neighbouring buildings once the development was taking shape.