Strong attack on Winchester City Council over Silver Hill scheme

Part of the new plans for Silver Hill development

Part of the new plans for Silver Hill development

First published in Winchester
Last updated
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A CRITIC of the £150m Silver Hill scheme in Winchester made a strong attack on Winchester City Council saying the public was being misled.

Cllr Kim Gottlieb is fighting a last-ditch campaign to persuade the council to delay the plans for 184 homes and around 20 new shops.

He believes the redevelopment is too overbearing and will ruin the city centre and must be stopped.

Tomorrow the council Cabinet, as the landowner, is poised to allow its co-developer Henderson to make a new planning application to revise the scheme that already has planning permission.

In a highly unusual move Cllr Gottlieb, a Conservative, wrote a report for the overview and scrutiny committee calling for an independent investigation into how the scheme has been handled.

The report was only received on Monday morning but committee chairman Chris Pines allowed it onto the agenda.

In a hard-hitting report Cllr Gottlieb said the “council lacked the requisite experience and competence in the management of the project….Members both inside and outside of the Cabinet are not being properly advised, and the fact that the public too is being misled, is a major flaw in the process.”

Other councillors on the overview and scrutiny committee also criticised aspects of the scheme to regenerate a large chunk of the city centre.

Cllr Robert Sanders said it would be “commercial suicide” for the council to allow Henderson to put in the application, as up till that point the council has absolute discretion about any alterations. He said the council was surrendering its negotiating strength.

The existing permission is for 307 homes, of which 35 per cent must be affordable, offices, shops and a new bus station. Henderson and the city council want to reduce the number of homes to 184 and increase retail space by some 55 per cent and drop the bus station.

Cllr Malcolm Wright said he was concerned about car parking as the new plans had fewer public spaces.

Deputy council leader Victoria Weston said the permitted scheme needed to be updated and improved. “I’m reassured that we are advised this represents a good deal for the council and the city. Delay will achieve nothing. It will be a dereliction of our duty. What is so bad about a scheme that has retailers queuing up to take space?”

Kevin Warren, head of estates at the council, said Henderson could walk away and a new scheme now would take four to five years to being to fruition.

Comments (8)

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11:28am Wed 9 Jul 14

rachelem says...

I am frankly stunned at Cllr Weston's comment. Has she read Cllr Gottlieb's report? I trust she will feel able to stand by her quote should an independent investigation arise. Having read Cllr Gottlieb's report it makes clear that only by delaying the scheme will best consideration and value for money be achieved for the taxpayer. To do anything else would be the dereliction of duty. If it were possible I would motion a vote of no confidence in Winchester City Council. This is appalling and shameful but sadly not surprising. Read the report at www.winchesterdeserv
esbetter.com
I am frankly stunned at Cllr Weston's comment. Has she read Cllr Gottlieb's report? I trust she will feel able to stand by her quote should an independent investigation arise. Having read Cllr Gottlieb's report it makes clear that only by delaying the scheme will best consideration and value for money be achieved for the taxpayer. To do anything else would be the dereliction of duty. If it were possible I would motion a vote of no confidence in Winchester City Council. This is appalling and shameful but sadly not surprising. Read the report at www.winchesterdeserv esbetter.com rachelem
  • Score: 15

11:29am Wed 9 Jul 14

Shocked local resident says...

No social housing, no bus station, no youth space, less public parking and no longer a requirement for Shopmobility and Dial-A-Ride to be included in the Silver Hill scheme. These are the changes to the original planning permission officers are recommending councillors approve at a public Cabinet meeting on Thursday July 10, starting at 6.30pm.

Instead they are proposing to allow the developer to build 100 fewer but, bigger homes with more private parking. Is this the city council's vision for the centre of Winchester? A ghetto for the super-rich? People would have to earn in excess of £100-150,000 to afford to buy one of the bigger new homes. Where will the shop workers, waitresses, nurses, teachers, police officers, firefighters etc live.
There is currently a planning requirement for 35 per cent of the 184 homes to be "affordable" social housing for rent or shared equity.This is equal to 64 much-needed new homes for local people on the housing waiting list. Originally it was 35 per cent of 364 (127 affordable homes) but the council has already agreed to reduce this to 287 (100 affordable) and now it is proposing a further reduction to 184 (and zero affordable). Under the proposed changes, the developer may make a cash contribution to social housing elsewhere but only if the scheme is profitable - so there is no guarantee.

If more workers essential to the economy of the city are banished to the edges or other towns, it means means more commuting to work, which is less environmentally-frie
ndly.

The seven-storey, monolithic, block-like design of the scheme is another reason Winchester deserves better. It looks more like bleak Basingstoke city centre than Winchester's attractive High Street with its mix of historic buildings. Well done Cllr Gottleib.
No social housing, no bus station, no youth space, less public parking and no longer a requirement for Shopmobility and Dial-A-Ride to be included in the Silver Hill scheme. These are the changes to the original planning permission officers are recommending councillors approve at a public Cabinet meeting on Thursday July 10, starting at 6.30pm. Instead they are proposing to allow the developer to build 100 fewer but, bigger homes with more private parking. Is this the city council's vision for the centre of Winchester? A ghetto for the super-rich? People would have to earn in excess of £100-150,000 to afford to buy one of the bigger new homes. Where will the shop workers, waitresses, nurses, teachers, police officers, firefighters etc live. There is currently a planning requirement for 35 per cent of the 184 homes to be "affordable" social housing for rent or shared equity.This is equal to 64 much-needed new homes for local people on the housing waiting list. Originally it was 35 per cent of 364 (127 affordable homes) but the council has already agreed to reduce this to 287 (100 affordable) and now it is proposing a further reduction to 184 (and zero affordable). Under the proposed changes, the developer may make a cash contribution to social housing elsewhere but only if the scheme is profitable - so there is no guarantee. If more workers essential to the economy of the city are banished to the edges or other towns, it means means more commuting to work, which is less environmentally-frie ndly. The seven-storey, monolithic, block-like design of the scheme is another reason Winchester deserves better. It looks more like bleak Basingstoke city centre than Winchester's attractive High Street with its mix of historic buildings. Well done Cllr Gottleib. Shocked local resident
  • Score: 21

1:31pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Hooligan899 says...

If, as objectors allege, the new development does not blend into the current city environment, why not simply demolish the Guildhall and Cathedral?? Surely the Council would view that as a logical step? Oh yes and then....
If, as objectors allege, the new development does not blend into the current city environment, why not simply demolish the Guildhall and Cathedral?? Surely the Council would view that as a logical step? Oh yes and then.... Hooligan899
  • Score: 0

3:23pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Shocked local resident says...

Actually new four-bedroom houses are selling in the city centre for £1m-plus. So people would need to earn in excess of £300,000 to buy a home in Silver Hill if the changes are allowed. Perhaps it should be renamed Peninsula Barracks 2 but even that had some shared equity housing.
Actually new four-bedroom houses are selling in the city centre for £1m-plus. So people would need to earn in excess of £300,000 to buy a home in Silver Hill if the changes are allowed. Perhaps it should be renamed Peninsula Barracks 2 but even that had some shared equity housing. Shocked local resident
  • Score: 5

7:07pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Towag says...

As Usual with WCC the original plan was well accepted, but like all developers they are only in it for the massive profits they will make, so the "other" plans have been slipped through without the Winchester City citizens knowing what is going on.... Me thinks big bucks back handers are probably being accepted by city councillors to push it through, no proof of that as there never is.... Thoughts anyone?
As Usual with WCC the original plan was well accepted, but like all developers they are only in it for the massive profits they will make, so the "other" plans have been slipped through without the Winchester City citizens knowing what is going on.... Me thinks big bucks back handers are probably being accepted by city councillors to push it through, no proof of that as there never is.... Thoughts anyone? Towag
  • Score: 1

10:20pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Jimtiddlypom says...

Towag wrote:
As Usual with WCC the original plan was well accepted, but like all developers they are only in it for the massive profits they will make, so the "other" plans have been slipped through without the Winchester City citizens knowing what is going on.... Me thinks big bucks back handers are probably being accepted by city councillors to push it through, no proof of that as there never is.... Thoughts anyone?
Yes, you have no idea what you're talking about. There's a serious debate here, try and focus on the issues.
[quote][p][bold]Towag[/bold] wrote: As Usual with WCC the original plan was well accepted, but like all developers they are only in it for the massive profits they will make, so the "other" plans have been slipped through without the Winchester City citizens knowing what is going on.... Me thinks big bucks back handers are probably being accepted by city councillors to push it through, no proof of that as there never is.... Thoughts anyone?[/p][/quote]Yes, you have no idea what you're talking about. There's a serious debate here, try and focus on the issues. Jimtiddlypom
  • Score: 3

12:30pm Thu 10 Jul 14

wheresthemoneygone says...

Councillors are naturally going to accept the most 'amenable' offers - of course this needs much greater democratic scrutiny.By destroying the heart of Winchester Councillors are 'selling their souls'(/democratic obligations) and the City's.They don't care as long as thy're profiting personally in some way.The City and the Citizens have to pay the price for the corrupt actions of these malign shadows.Personally I think that the bus station needs an uplift and most of the homes provided need to be affordable.The previous 'decision' seemed to reflect this - Indeed it does seem that Councillors have ignored the previous democratic consensus.
Councillors are naturally going to accept the most 'amenable' offers - of course this needs much greater democratic scrutiny.By destroying the heart of Winchester Councillors are 'selling their souls'(/democratic obligations) and the City's.They don't care as long as thy're profiting personally in some way.The City and the Citizens have to pay the price for the corrupt actions of these malign shadows.Personally I think that the bus station needs an uplift and most of the homes provided need to be affordable.The previous 'decision' seemed to reflect this - Indeed it does seem that Councillors have ignored the previous democratic consensus. wheresthemoneygone
  • Score: 2

4:09pm Tue 15 Jul 14

rupertpitt@fsmail.net says...

The very important meeting on the Silverhill development was held last Thursday.

There were 13 presentations from the public, and 12 were opposed to the new Silverhill development. This demonstrates the opposition to it!

The second speaker, Scot Masker an architect from Hursley, made a very good presentation stating that the scheme was grossly misconceived. He was vigorously applauded. The meeting’s Chairman requested that the audience not to clap as it took up time.

The other 12 speakers all spoke articulately against the development, and 11 were roundly applauded, some in the middle of their presentations as well as at the end, so strong was the feeling in the hall. The audience were prepared to completely disregard the Chairman.

There were 5 Councillors who represent the Cabinet at Winchester who decided on whether the new development proposed by Henderson should go forward. Four of these councillors do not live in Winchester, only one does, Ian Tait, the member for St Michael’s.

For a scheme which will completely change this part of Winchester, as much as The Guildhall and the Cathedral have, only one Councillor will have to live with it. The other 4 Councillors voted on a most profound change to Winchester that they do not live with. One of the councillors lives as far away as Newtown near Fareham, another lives in Hursley and one lives at Bishops Waltham.

Where is Localism in al this? For a scheme of this size only those Councillors who live in Winchester should be permitted to vote on it.
The very important meeting on the Silverhill development was held last Thursday. There were 13 presentations from the public, and 12 were opposed to the new Silverhill development. This demonstrates the opposition to it! The second speaker, Scot Masker an architect from Hursley, made a very good presentation stating that the scheme was grossly misconceived. He was vigorously applauded. The meeting’s Chairman requested that the audience not to clap as it took up time. The other 12 speakers all spoke articulately against the development, and 11 were roundly applauded, some in the middle of their presentations as well as at the end, so strong was the feeling in the hall. The audience were prepared to completely disregard the Chairman. There were 5 Councillors who represent the Cabinet at Winchester who decided on whether the new development proposed by Henderson should go forward. Four of these councillors do not live in Winchester, only one does, Ian Tait, the member for St Michael’s. For a scheme which will completely change this part of Winchester, as much as The Guildhall and the Cathedral have, only one Councillor will have to live with it. The other 4 Councillors voted on a most profound change to Winchester that they do not live with. One of the councillors lives as far away as Newtown near Fareham, another lives in Hursley and one lives at Bishops Waltham. Where is Localism in al this? For a scheme of this size only those Councillors who live in Winchester should be permitted to vote on it. rupertpitt@fsmail.net
  • Score: 2

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