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Winchester picks JTP to rethink Silver Hill regeneration site

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JTP has won a publicly tendered contract worth around £90,000 to remasterplan Winchester’s 2.3 hectare Silver Hill regeneration area

The studio has been chosen by Winchester City Council (WCC) to draw up a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the historic district north of Winchester Cathedral known as Friarsgate.

The appointment comes eleven 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.

Councillor Victoria Weston, chair of WCC’s informal policy group said: ‘The central Winchester informal policy group is delighted to be working with JTP and their team on this exciting opportunity to work with the public and stakeholders to formulate guidance for the regeneration of central Winchester.’

JTP partner Marcus Adams said: ‘We recognise the significance of this site in activating the wider regeneration of Winchester, and appreciate its rich heritage which will play an important part in informing the framework.

‘Through our unique collaborative design processes we will aim to build a consensus to create a distinctive place, reimaging and enhancing the character and identity of Winchester.’

JTP will deliver a new planning brief and development framework for the site, which was last masterplanned 13 years ago.

The winning team will also 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 2016 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 2016 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 soon.

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