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Protesters to take to streets over Allies & Morrison's Winchester plans

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Marchers will take to the streets in Winchester tomorrow to protest against a number of developments which they say risk ruining the historic town centre

The movement was initially sparked by residents angered by the form of Allies & Morrison’s Silver Hill redevelopment scheme.

But the organisers of the march say there are wider concerns about the way in which Winchester City Council is consulting with residents over new developments.

City councillor Kim Gottlieb told the AJ: ‘There are a few other controversial schemes coming forward in the centre of town which people regard as sensitive. There is a feeling that people are not being consulted particularly well.’

Gottlieb was last week granted a hearing in the High Court for a judicial review of the Silver Hill scheme, which is being promoted by developer TIAA Henderson Real Estate.

The original 2009 planning permission has been amended to remove a number of planning gain items including affordable housing and a proposed new bus station.

And the court ruled that there was an arguable case that the council should have put the scheme back out to tender following these amendments. A hearing has been set for the end of January.

Meanwhile, a new set of planning applications covering the site has been submitted to the council to increase the amount of retail space and will be go before councilors next month.

Winchester-based architect Robert Adam of ADAM Urbanism, who has produced an alternative version of how the Silver Hill scheme could look, told AJ: “The problem with this development is that it has a number of buildings of over four stories and is all being completed by a single developer.”

He also said that the council, which is a freeholder on the site, was failing to listen to concerns raised by the public and had “rolled over” to allow the removal of planning gain benefits.

He said of tomorrow’s march: ‘It started with Silver Hill and now other people have joined in. It is essentially about the council not listening to its constituency.

‘I just wish they had done this when we, as a small group of architects, drew everyone’s attention to this a few years ago.’



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Readers' comments (1)

  • While it is true to say that Allies & Morrison's scheme is not universally loved in Winchester, the real cause of dissatisfaction is, as you suggest, with the council. Their policies on consultation are sound but the practice is insultingly bad. Thus they are poised to agree the Henderson scheme which has 50% more retail area than the original scheme, at a time when retail is in decline and disarray; which has removed the bus station and increased private parking when all its other policies speak of sustainable transport and carbon reduction; which will see the demolition of almost the only remaining link with Victorian industry in a city which protects only 'polite' heritage; and which - for me the main reason for marching - will have no onsite affordable or social housing despite all their plans demanding it. Initially Hendersons said they would not even provide funding for housing offsite; the council was content with this until public concern made itself felt. Now it is proposing to accept £1m for off-site affordable housing, that is, about 20% of the £5m that would have been the approximate cost of 100 units. There are other losses too. All those public benefits (apart from the heritage) were part of the CPO Inquiry, so one might think would be a legal requirement.
    The motto for the march and the wider campaign for better planning is "Winchester Deserves Better". That is absolutely correct.

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