Businesses and entrepreneurs encourage council to be ‘big and bold’ in its plans for Central Winchester Regeneration

Local businesses, cultural and creative entrepreneurs joined a workshop to share their ideas and desires for how best to use the space on the Winchester Bus Station site.

An under-utilised section of the council-owned Winchester Bus Station; situated within the Central Winchester Regeneration (CWR) area, has been identified as a possible location for meanwhile use opportunities. The council is exploring options to understand what could work in the area, with permission from the Cabinet (CWR) Committee to commission a feasibility study.

The 18 attendees were invited to share their thoughts after some attendees had taken part in Winchester City Council’s ‘Unconference’ and ‘hack’ events, which identified the need for more work space, earlier this year. During the two hour event, everyone had their say and shared their views of what could be included in the feasibility study for the meanwhile uses that will start in the new year.

There was a real emphasis on listening to each other and openness to the ideas and suggestions shared. There was also a strong appreciation of the big picture for the site recognising it as a real opportunity to deliver positive benefits for the economy and residents of the Winchester District. The attendees encouraged the council to be ‘big and bold’ in its regeneration plans.

 Next steps:

·       The outputs from the event will be collated and sent back to attendees, the Meanwhile Use advisory panel and the Cabinet (CWR) Committee responsible for the project. Outputs and ideas from the event will be considered as part of the feasibility study

·       The feasibility brief will then be shared with consultancies to pitch for the work

Cllr Caroline Horrill, Leader of the Council and Chair of the Cabinet (CWR) Committee said:

“Getting the site into use as a vibrant part of the city centre is a key consideration for this area, and a key aspect of the Central Winchester Regeneration project. We are committed to making sure that the area continues to thrive for residents, tourists and businesses. We wanted to involve local entrepreneurs to understand their needs and for them to share their experience and knowledge to help make this exciting opportunity work for entrepreneurs, creators and makers in Winchester.

“We’ll take their views into consideration as part of the next stage where a feasibility study will be undertaken to assess what could work on the site and within the context of our wider city and its needs.”

Dr Paul Spencer, Executive Director for Winchester Business Improvement District (BID), also attended and said:

“This event was a real signal of the council engaging local entrepreneurs and taking note of their ideas and needs. I enjoyed hearing the diverse views in the room and the genuine excitement and positive outlook for Winchester.”