Robert Adam reveals rival to 'destructive' Winchester scheme
The urban design branch of Robert Adam’s practice has unveiled an alternative to Allies and Morrison’s controversial Silver Hill shopping scheme in Winchester
ADAM Urbanism, along with fellow locally-based outfit Huw Thomas Architects, have branded the current planning approval ‘too massive [and] too anonymous’ and slammed the £135 million scheme for potentially destroying the character of the historic cathedral city.
Backed by Henderson Global Investors, the Allies and Morrison scheme has recently been resurrected after being sat on the shelf for years - revised plans for the huge site were approved back in 2007. The developer is now preparing to go through a compulsory puchase order process to secure all the plots need to deliver the 55,000m² city centre scheme.
A spokesman for the team behind the new more traditional proposals, which includes consultancy Alan Baxter Integrated Design, told the AJ:’The Silver Hill scheme is now out of date and, now that there are new owners, there is one last chance to save the City for the future.
‘A more progressive approach to development will allow for more flexibility, will let different owners participate, will make sure that the unique character of Winchester is not lost to an ‘anywhere’ shopping centre and will make a place that people will want to visit.’
Winchester has already been badly scarred by previous attempts at comprehensive redevelopment
Hugh Petter, a director of ADAM Urbanism added: ‘Winchester has already been badly scarred by previous attempts at comprehensive redevelopment. We know it does not deliver good quality places. We need now to move on and to embrace a more enlightened approach to urban redevelopment if we are to ensure that the City does not lose its distinctive character and if it is to remain a vibrant place in which to live and work. We feel very strongly, therefore, that the City Council should consider this alternative approach.’
Martin Perry, Henderson director of retail property development, said: ‘We are very happy with our current working relationship with Allies and Morrison and have no intention of appointing new architects. We have achieved a detailed consent on the current scheme and intend to proceed wit the current design.’
Comment from Winchester-based Dan Brill of Dan Brill Architects
Allies and Morrison’s scheme is a commendable example of contemporary architecture’s capacity to be unashamed yet courteous to sensitive historical contexts. To shy away from their approach, particularly at this late stage, would be a great loss to the City of Winchester and a blow the wider architectural community.