THE third major attempt to redevelop much of downtown Winchester has now reached a milestone.

Today, the business case for the Central Winchester regeneration area, better known as Silver Hill, was approved by the City Council Cabinet.

The meeting heard the project is viable and would be attractive to developers, but opposition advisers raised concerns about redeveloping the area between The Broadway and Friarsgate, including the bus station and the arcade. Kings Walk.

The Liberal Democrat-controlled council is considering a mixed-use program that includes homes, offices, a hotel and open spaces.

He will now begin the crucial search in 2022 for a development partner who shares the council’s goals, a process that will take several months.

The Colline d’Argent site; inset, Cllr Kelsie Learney

Cllr Kelsie Learney, Cabinet Member for Asset Management, said: “The message we’re getting from the public is ‘keep going.’ It’s time we started talking about Winchester up rather than down. am excited about where we are at. We are seeing a growing interest not only in this site, but elsewhere in town. “.

Cllr Martin Tod said: “This is an exciting and positive opportunity for the city that cannot be blocked in the past but moves forward with confidence.

“We have to trust the city, we have to believe in the city. It’s time to end the dithering and delays; it’s time to stop bashing the city and move on.”

But opposition Conservative advisers have said they fear the council will make mistakes.

Cllr Hugh Lumby told Cabinet: “I am afraid this process is making me more and more nervous. Reading this document, it is clear to me that this is not the right way to proceed. After 30 years in the making. regeneration and redevelopment projects, both for developers and authorities, it is clear that this one is unlikely to succeed. And if it does, it will cost the municipality and its inhabitants too much. .

“The expressed viability is marginal. The result will be that it will be too expensive for small developers but too small for many large developers. The lack of yield will put off many, regardless of their size. And then there are the four successful judicial checks. against Winchester.

“Yes we want to see Central Winchester redeveloped but not through this process. We are being misled on the financial record, we are going to have a hard time attracting bidders, we have no idea what we will get and if it will be. net zero or not, in fact, we do not even have the guarantee that a full or even partial project will emerge. All we know is that an opportunity to deliver is wasted and all residents in will be poorer. ”

May 23, 2014 - Winchester Election Results - Conservative Caroline Horrill wins the Sparsholt seat.

May 23, 2014 – Winchester Election Results – Conservative Caroline Horrill wins the Sparsholt seat.

Conservative group leader Caroline Horrill is concerned that the program will not adhere to the Supplemental Planning Document (SPD) which was agreed to with broad public support in 2018. “Unfortunately, today I see a proposal before the Cabinet, which has not learned from our past experiences, is missing some fundamental issues that we need to resolve and I fear it will take us down a path that will not lead to the SPD.

“I pledge if we return as head of Council in May 2022, we will again ensure good oversight of this key project with all Councilors and our residents, we pledge to progress at a steady pace, we pledge to follow the SPD and we promise to get something done. We have run the sports and recreation park across the board despite the current administration trying to shut it down. The devil is in the details of this proposal. We can make Central Winchester happen, but not by taking the specific approach described today. ”

The Cabinet was told that safeguards would be built into any deal with a developer to ensure the implementation of the agreed upon program.

Senior Council Officer Veryan Lyons, Program Manager, said: “It’s a pretty exciting time; we are progressing.

She said the council is targeting the younger generation and night tourism. “We have a disparity in the demographics of groups. We have a lot of students and a good proportion of retirees. But in the middle, we are losing young people and young talents. What we’re trying to do is fill that gap. ”

Previous plans by developers Thornfield and Hendersons have sunk into economic problems and lawsuits.

Cabinet approved the business case to be submitted to the full Council in January for final approval.

Cllr Kelsie Learney, Cabinet Member for Housing and Asset Management, said: “We are excited to move our proposals forward, including looking to appoint a development partner to work with us. The Cabinet decision follows many months of work to find the best way forward for the site and discussions with fellow council members and local residents, including at an open forum on November 22 and a review committee meeting on December 6. We look forward to discussing this at the Plenary Council on January 12 and look forward to starting the process of finding a great partner to work with us in the New Year.

During the public participation, former city councilor Ian Tait addressed Cabinet: “We are still years away from filing a planning application. You should demolish Friarsgate Medical Center now and build an exemplary housing project next to St John’s Almshouses, and start the project. The people of Winchester want to see something done. Be brave, get yourself a planning app for Friarsgate. It would show that you are serious. ”

Council chief Lucille Thompson said she wanted to demolish the empty building, “but we have a bit of a battle with the planners.”

Dr Phil Spencer, director of the Winchester Business Improvement District, said the 700 members of the BID overwhelmingly supported the redevelopment.

READ MORE HERE: City Council ‘Always Wrong’ in Silver Hill

READ MORE HERE: Multi-Million Pound Boost Planned From Silver Hill

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