30th August 2011
The Winchester-based practices of ADAM Urbanism (the urban design branch of ADAM Architecture) and Huw Thomas Architects believe that the currently-approved scheme for Silver Hill will be too massive, too anonymous and will destroy the character of Winchester. They want to show the people of Winchester what they could have and, now that there are new owners, urge the City Council to think again.
ADAM Urbanism and Huw Thomas Architects have worked with a specialist built environment consultancy, Alan Baxter Integrated Design, to produce an alternative vision of the City. They think the new area should be planned to give variety over time, and that it should be of a scale and character that protects the precious architectural heritage of the city. The three firms have worked on similar projects throughout the UK. They stress that a more sympathetic approach is used elsewhere and are dismayed that Winchester has ignored these well-established design principles.
The practices believe that the way the Silver Hill scheme was presented did not let people understand how damaging the development would be. So that people can understand what is possible and to contrast with what is proposed, ADAM Urbanism and Huw Thomas Architects have drawn up artist's impressions of what an alternative could look like.
The Silver Hill Scheme is now out of date and, now that there are new owners, there is one last chance to save the City for the future. A more progressive approach to development will allow for more flexibility, will let different owners participate, will make sure that the unique character of Winchester is not lost to an 'anywhere' shopping centre and will make a place that people will want to visit.
Hugh Petter, a director of ADAM Urbanism said, "Winchester has already been badly scarred by previous attempts at comprehensive redevelopment. We know it does not deliver good quality places. We need now to move on and to embrace a more enlightened approach to urban redevelopment if we are to ensure that the City does not lose its distinctive character and if it is to remain a vibrant place in which to live and work. We feel very strongly, therefore, that the City Council should consider this alternative approach."
Huw Thomas, said, "The purpose of this initiative is to reopen the debate on the Silver Hill regeneration project. If it takes another five years it is better that this is tolerated than create a horror that will spoil the city for the rest of the century. What I know for certain is that the current proposal to have a building as long as the cathedral, as tall as the parapet of the cathedral and closer to the cathedral than the Wyckham Arms is absurd."