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Plans to give Kings Walk new lease of life move ahead

Winchester City Council has revealed more details of its plans to revitalise Kings Walk in Winchester city centre. The upgrading of Kings Walk, led by a team including architectural practice Studio Multi, will see the transformation of this key part of the Central Winchester Regeneration site and will help to breathe new life into the area.

The council will shortly be announcing a procurement process to find a contractor to deliver the works which have been shared with, and welcomed by, tenants, the BID and the police.

The plans focus on improving the appearance of the retail terraces facing Middle Brook Street and the façade and entrance to Kings Walk along Silver Hill, whilst also developing opportunities to improve the open spaces across this key area of the city centre, which is home to the Nutshell Theatre.

Central to the proposals will be the creation of a ‘Courtyard Garden’ shared by traders and The Nutshell. This will be achieved through the introduction of new planting, new suspended light fittings and flexible seating arrangements.

These measures aim to produce a more attractive environment than exists at present, where shoppers and visitors to the centre of Winchester can meet and relax. The plans also include provision for planting to be sourced from – and maintained by – local Winchester businesses.

The upgrade will be delivered as a ‘meanwhile use’ across an area covering some 1,770 square metres in advance of the wider redevelopment of the Central Winchester Regeneration area. Other elements include:

  • Introducing a modern LED lighting design throughout to replace the dated lighting systems which currently exist in Kings Walk, including nine globe pendant lights above the courtyard
  • Decluttering existing, out-dated signage with the installation of a cleaner, more joined-up visual approach to wayfinding through and around the area
  • Repainting the brickwork along Silver Hill and replacing the existing solid doors to the rear entrances of shops with new doors incorporating windows
  • Repurposing an existing loading bay (currently used for rubbish storage and collection) as an event space for gatherings, cultural events and a market.

Consent for new wayfinding graphics and the change of use of the loading bay as an event space will require planning applications, which are due to be submitted to the council shortly.

Nicola Rutt, Director of Studio Multi, said:

“In recent months, we have spoken with many of the traders in Kings Walk and have put their views for the transformation at the heart of our proposals to revitalise this part of the city.

We are seeking to transform the open spaces of Kings Walk by turning them into usable extensions of indoor spaces, the intention being that this will encourage the local community and visitors to Winchester to engage more with Kings Walk, which has a rich mix of independent, creative businesses and characterful outdoor spaces.

Our proposals will also – we believe – contribute towards the longer-term development of a ‘cultural quarter’ in the area by seeking to attract more creative, independent businesses to the centre of Winchester.”

Cllr Martin Tod, Leader and Cabinet Member for Asset Management at Winchester City Council, said:

“It is great to see these exciting proposals moving ahead. The team has worked closely with the tenants, local businesses and the police to design these much-needed improvements to Kings Walk which represent the early stages in what will eventually be a much wider transformation and improvement of a larger part of the city centre.

“This is only a beginning, but it starts to show the great potential impact of the wider vision for the Central Winchester Regeneration site and its significant long-term benefits to people living and working in and around the district, including the creation of flexible workspace, retail and leisure facilities together with high-quality housing and attractive public realm.”

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