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Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands wins approval for revised Winchester scheme

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Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands has secured outline planning approval for a controversial mixed-use scheme in Hampshire after shaving 2m off the height of a key building

Councillors on Winchester City Council’s planning committee approved the practice’s revised Station Approach scheme last week.

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands amended its scheme after a design review panel earlier this year expressed ‘concern’ over height.

The practice lowered a plant screen on the Carfax 2 building as well as removing a contingency that allowed greater height. Planning officers said the moves ensured the building did not rise above trees behind it in long-distance views.

Other changes in the latest plans included a reduction in the number of active frontages and cutting the number of parking spaces.

But a number of concerns have remained over the revised scheme, which would create almost 18,000m² of offices alongside retail, café and restaurant space on land currently occupied by trees and ground-level parking spaces.

The council’s historic built environment lead warned that the plans ‘still appear to breech the treed skyline from Blue Ball Hill’ while its environment lead called for measures to reduce height when the plans are submitted for reserved matters approval. An urban design lead called for the widening of a path and improved use of first-floor terraces.

City of Winchester Trust said the scheme would ‘dwarf the station building as well as the old registry building’. More than 40 individual objections were made including that the proposed buildings would ‘dominate the skyline’.

The Design South East review panel supported the reduction of height but said it was difficult to evaluate the impact of the bulk and mass at outline stage while detailing and materials were unresolved.

Nonetheless, planning officers recommended approval subject to conditions, and councillors voted to approve the outline application. 

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands won an RIBA-backed competition for the site back in 2017, defeating Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, BDP, Metropolitan Workshop with Henley Halebrown and Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt, and Rick Mather Architects.

Hopkins had been selected as ‘preferred bidder in principle’ following a previous design contest for the station approach project. But in summer 2016, councillors decided not to appoint the practice following concerns about potential overdevelopment of key gateway sites.

Urban design consultancy Publica and landscape designer Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape have worked with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands on the scheme.

In documents submitted as part of the initial planning application, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands said the south and east façades of its scheme were extensively stepped to respond to the neighbouring context.

Practice director Alex Lifschutz said in 2017: ‘We will be looking to maintain a sense of “Winchester” in the area. People need to know they have arrived in a special place, steeped in culture, showcasing heritage and benefiting from open spaces.’

Project data

Public realm consultant Publica
Landscape architect Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape
Structural engineer AKT II
MEP services Hilson Moran
Planning consultant Barton Willmore
Heritage consultant Heritage Architecture
Transport consultant i-Transport
Public engagement Iceni
Property consultant Vail Williams
Quantity surveyor Mace

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ masterplan for Winchester Station Approach

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ masterplan for Winchester Station Approach

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