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Masterplanner sought for Winchester ‘Silver Hill’ regeneration site

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Winchester City Council (WCC) is seeking a multidisciplinary urban design team to remasterplan its 2.3ha central regeneration area

The winner of the £90,000 contract will draw up a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the historic district north of Winchester Cathedral known as Friarsgate.

The search comes nine months after councillors abandoned the long-running and contentious Silver Hill proposals for the area by Allies and Morrison after losing patience with the developer.

It also follows a major U-turn, which saw councillors shelve Hopkins Architects’ competition-winning proposals for the separate but nearby Station Approach area amid fears of overdevelopment.

According to the brief: ‘The SPD will set out the detailed aims and objectives for the regeneration of central Winchester and any consequential changes required to the surrounding area including the Broadway and Lower High Street.

‘The measure of success will be that the policy and plan have widespread public and stakeholder buy-in that underpins the efficient and effective delivery of a viable regeneration scheme.’

Open to teams with ‘recent experience of working in areas with significant heritage and cultural assets’, the contract will deliver a new planning brief and development framework for the site, which was last masterplanned 13 years ago.

The winning team will devise a communications strategy, deliver two phases of engagement with the public and stakeholders, complete a consultation and supply a draft SPD by June next year.

In February councillors voted to terminate a development agreement with TH Real Estate to build the mixed-use, retail-led Silver Hill scheme, which was drawn up more than six years ago.

A year earlier a judge found the council had acted unlawfully in allowing the developer to revise plans without putting the scheme back out to commercial tender.

The original 2009 scheme included 287 homes – 100 of which were to be ‘affordable’ – 9,100m² of retail space and a bus station.

The 2014 revision reduced the housing to 177 units, with no on-site affordable provision, and also scrapped the bus station.

In July councillors decided not to appoint Hopkins Architects, which had been selected as ’preferred bidder in principle’ for the Station Approach project.

The surprise move followed concerns around potential overdevelopment of the key gateway sites, which required large numbers of parking spaces as part of the brief.

A new procurement process for Station Approach – managed by RIBA Competitions – is expected to be launched imminently.

The deadline for applications is noon, 21 November.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Zoe James
Winchester City Council
City Offices
Colebrook Street
SO23 9LJ

Tel: 01962 848508
Email: zjames@winchester.gov.uk

Q&A: Andy Hickman, Winchester City Council assistant director for policy and planning

Why does Winchester need a new central SPD?

There is a planning brief for the site but this was produced in 2003, so there is need for a new updated brief which will be in the form of an SPD and have a formal status. The SPD will be guided by the Local Plan Policy for this area Policy WIN4. We want to consult to find out what stakeholders and residents would like to see on the site and to find out what the key issues and opportunities are.

How will the SPD respond to past failures and ensure large-scale regenerations, such as Silver Hill, move forward in the future?

The SPD will need to set out the vision for the area and the general disposition of a mixed-used development. It will still need to lead to a viable development. There are constraints on the site, including some contamination archeology and flooding. We are undertaking assessments to find out the level of those constraints, and the findings will feed into the formulation of the SPD.

Will the opportunity be open to local practices?

We are using an open tender process so any firms can apply but will need to demonstrate that they have the required skills and experience in this sort of work.

What is the council’s strategy for placing the Station Approach regeneration back on track?

We will be using a different tendering or procurement process to appoint an architect. It will be a direct appointment of a single architect. They will be paid based on a set fee determined by the tendering process. It will be an open process.

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