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Introduction

Frequently asked questions about Bushfield Camp

Welcome to our FAQ page, which is dedicated to addressing the queries, concerns and exciting future plans for the redevelopment of Bushfield.  

This section provides answers to some of the most common questions we’ve received throughout our engagement and consultation with the community. 

As our proposals continue to evolve, we encourage you to check back frequently on this page, ensuring you have the most up-to-date information about Bushfield at your fingertips. 

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The Proposals

Can you provide an overview of your plans for Bushfield?

An overview of Bushfield:

Legal & General and Gisborne, in partnership with the Church Commissioners for England, are bringing forward plans for the circa 1 million sq. ft regeneration of Bushfield Camp in Winchester.

The development of a best-in-class employment-led scheme has the potential to attract major brands looking for new headquarters to the county from sectors including life science, academia, media and the health sector.

Situated to the south of the city centre, approximately 40% of the site will contain built development, with the other half designed and maintained as publicly accessible and biodiverse green space.

The redevelopment will generate new employment uses that will secure new social, economic and environmental benefits for the city, capitalising on the site’s proximity to the centre of Winchester.

Engaging with the community:

Throughout our engagement and consultation process, we have listened to thousands of comments, observations and questions from a wide range of people across the region – ranging from residents who live very close to the site and the broader district, to stakeholders, environmental organisations and heritage bodies.

People were interested to understand how the development would work for the people of Winchester, how it would affect the city and why it was needed.

The need:

The proposals come at a time of great change for us all. The climate and nature emergencies dictate a real need to examine how cities work, not just from an employment and transport perspective, but also financially in terms of where funds come from to pay for essential services like hospitals, schools, health and support services. Within this, there is a need to consider creating workplaces which have nature, biodiversity, open space and green initiatives as a fundamental part of their design.

In the past, Winchester has significantly relied on its public bodies to keep the city viable, and it’s easy to understand that this makes it vulnerable. It’s clear to everyone that the city has lost ground economically over quite a long period. However, with initiatives like the CWR and Station Approach, regeneration projects are afoot to help. Bushfield sits alongside these projects in a complimentary way, underpinning the mandate for economic stability and growth from within, and offering a much-needed place for local people to work, rather than commute out of the city.

The development team have worked hard to conceive a masterplan which addresses the sensitivities of the site and turns Bushfield’s unique characteristics into advantages.

At the very heart of these proposals is an ambition to deliver biodiverse solutions to the climate emergency Winchester has declared, which includes:

  • Bio-diversity net-gain and prioritising green areas within the development
  • Development-wide use of green roofs and solar energy
  • Prioritising green space and protection of the beech hanger
  • A new 60 acre publicly accessible green space for the City
  • Potential use of the park and ride bus service
  • Improved access points, to make the site open for all, opening it up as a thriving exemplar for modern work and play

Why have the developers chosen Bushfield for these proposals?

Winchester City Council’s Green Economic Development Strategy aims to ensure the area benefits from investment in new infrastructure and innovation, growth of new goods and services and demand for the new jobs and skills needed to enable the transition to net zero.

As an allocated site, Bushfield Camp has a key role to play in realising these ambitions.

A unique blend of commerce and academia, the development will bring new highly skilled jobs to Winchester in sectors such as research and development, life sciences and academia.

Bushfield Camp is an allocated site within the current local plan and was identified as Policy WT3 in the Joint Core Strategy which was adopted in March 2013.

As part of this, an evidence base was prepared by the Council to support this allocation and the approach was examined by the Local Plan Inspector at the time.

In reference to the Bushfield Camp site, the Inspector’s Examination Report stated:

“Given that the Council fully endorses the need to broaden and diversify the economy of the city, as referred to in the plan, this site represents the most sustainable, realistic and deliverable option for new employment land provision at present” (paragraph 38).

The Inspector supported the opportunity Bushfield could deliver through the employment allocation, noting the site:

“would provide an opportunity for a new HQ building for a major company and/or a business cluster of sufficient size to be sustainable, once established. This should help to reduce local reliance on public sector jobs and have a positive impact on the commuting issue” (paragraph 39).

Importantly, the allocation was recognised as making a significant contribution to implementing the plan’s overall objectives through positively and proactively encouraging sustainable economic growth by identifying a strategic scale site to meet local needs over the plan period (paragraph 42).

What is the context of this development?

It is important to note that the development partnership began discussions with WCC over four years ago and has been engaged in detailed discussions for the last two years.

These discussions have included dialogue regarding the need and viability of Bushfield, given the site is allocated for development in the current version of the Local Plan and is also identified for development in the yet unadopted emerging Local Plan.

As developers, we have responded to that allocation to bring forward development proposals in line with WCC policy and in a manner which we believe will attract serious interest from occupiers and workers.

Do you have any information about potential occupier interest?

The development team has extensive UK and global experience in bringing forward developments of this nature and scale.

Bushfield has been identified as a highly attractive proposition for development; not only within the UK property market but also the European property sector. Winchester’s lifestyle status and Bushfield’s unique features, characteristics and location represent formidable magnets for a wide variety of leading international companies and organisations, with whom there are ongoing dialogues.

Market sensitivities prevent detailed announcements, but we can confirm a broad variety of occupiers from differing disciplines have confirmed interest, notably from the health, life science, education and media sectors. We anticipate being able to confirm this in much greater detail once an outline consent has been achieved.

It is important to note that organisations do not commit to detailed occupational discussions until the site has the benefit of an outline planning consent. This outline consent remains the trigger for these detailed discussions.

The Church Commissioners for England, Legal & General and Gisborne have invested substantially in the planning process for a multi-million-pound, evidence-based approach, and would not have done so without the knowledge and confidence of achieving substantial pre-lets to tenants once the outline consent is achieved.

Will the site be fully accessible by the local community?

Although accessible to a very small section to the north, the permeability of Bushfield is virtually non-existent at present, and we see the improvement of connectivity as a vital aim of our proposals. Opening the old camp and the enormous open space adjacent to it is a hugely exciting prospect.

In many ways, Bushfield is a hidden gem in the midst of the city’s environs and is presently accessible to just a few. Handled in the right way, this can change for the benefit of many.

Although access to the site’s green space is currently difficult, our intention is to fully open and integrate the site with local communities as a destination for work and the enjoyment of bio-diverse green space – both within the development and outside, through the opening of 60 acres of space adjacent to the old camp parade ground.

This is directly aligned with the current WCC objective of reacting to the climate change and nature emergencies and the creation of a substantial working district within walking, cycling and accessible public transport distance of the city centre and surroundings.

We recognise the need to make Winchester work as an independently viable entity; reducing worker commutes and facilitating medium to long-term realignment of working practices, to be enabled locally.

A green city objective needs a development of this nature to anchor employment options. The integration of Bushfield into the surrounding areas is a vital aspect of the development objectives. Amenities will include places to eat, meet and relax as well as the ambitious creation of over 60 acres of legacy land as a new legally and openly accessible area for Winchester’s population.

The development will mediate between the city centre and the countryside, and the concept masterplan has been designed with this ethos and ambition at its forefront.

What is the development going to deliver that will benefit the local community?

This is a really good question and one which the development and design team take very seriously.

As value-driven companies, Gisborne, L&G and the Church Commissioners are committed to strong social impact agendas. The consortium will deliver ongoing communications and dialogue with local stakeholders and communities through the planning process, the life cycle of development and beyond.

Ecology benefits

One of the main benefits of the proposals will be the development partnership’s commitment to provide over 60 acres of Bushfield Camp land for use as publicly accessible open space.

There has been a long-held local drive to achieve this commitment, and this has been recognised and taken on board by the development team, who have been working hard to balance the development proposals in order to achieve this very significant step.

The 60 acres of land is currently in private ownership. Although the Church Commissioners for England allow some public access, it is important to understand there is no public ownership and no public right of access or way across the land.

A process for establishing how this land will be owned, who will manage it and what, if anything, should be undertaken to manage the nature of the land will be announced as part of the planning and development process. We intend to make further press announcements on this shortly.

It is vital to us that as many of the people of Winchester as possible get a chance to have their say on this land and its future, and we look forward to a productive dialogue and local involvement in the legacy land process.

In addition to the Council’s own ecology and archaeology resources, Winchester has the benefit of some incredibly valuable resources, in terms of managing open spaces, including:

  • The Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust – which manages Whiteshute Ridge adjacent to the land
  • Sparsholt College – home to BBC’s Gardener’s Question Time, and an exemplar wildlife resource
  • Butterfly Conservation – with Sir David Attenborough as their President, which already manages two reserves in Winchester, one at Magdalen Hill and the other white close to Bushfield at Yew Hill near Oliver’s Battery
  • Highly motivated local resident knowledge which is familiar with the land
  • Heritage and climate organisations such as the City of Winchester Trust, The South Downs National Park and Winnac

We want to engage and curate the unique opportunity the legacy land comprises in a thoughtful, intelligent, professionally and ethically robust manner. The resource is clearly there, and we look forward to an exciting process of further engagement.

In support of the above, it is important to understand the development partnership is engaged in an evidence-based approach to the ecology of the entire site with consultants Thomson Ecology and internationally respected Landscape Architects Gillespies. We have a comprehensive knowledge and supporting data which will be invaluable in making decisions about the future of the 60 acres.

Our aim is to combine the wealth of available resources, to consult, collaborate and find an exemplary route to making good decisions.

Facility and amenity benefits

We are also exploring within the masterplan the provision of community and health hubs, as well as ensuring the open space within the development is curated in a manner which welcomes local people and establishes new connections to and from the City Centre and to existing leisure areas such as the water meadows and St. Catherine’s Hill.

In addition, the development partnership has suggested a hotel operation as part of the masterplan concept. This hotel operation would be open to local and public use and in concept is designed to be complimentary to the Knowledge Park concept which we have outlined in our 6 public consultation events.

A hotel facility is a natural complement to the office, research and academic uses. As well as providing a facility for visiting colleagues, researchers and academics to stay over, the hotel operation conceived is also as break out and leisure space for local workers, neighbours and families to enjoy.

Such an operation would be a hub and leisure club ideally and sit alongside the other uses on site in a beneficial way for local workers and communities.

Meanwhile uses, such as supporting amenities for cafe, sandwiches, food, etc. for the Bushfield community are important for the establishment of a living, thriving ecosystem within the development and to ensure Bushfield knits into the fabric of Winchester and does not become a satellite scheme without community.

The Local Plan allocation says the site is allocated for employment-led development, so why are you proposing to include a hotel and academic accommodation?

From our own in-depth experience in how to curate these kinds of developments, a hotel, operated in a suitable way, will deliver a benefit to workers, local people and families and provides an integral part of how the scheme will work.

Badger Farm lacks leisure amenities and breakout spaces for people to relax, as does Oliver’s Battery. We see the provision of a hotel as a benefit to the amenity of the locale but also an integral part of our overall concept.

The combination and interaction of commerce, research and academia means people will visit the site for extended stays. The provision of hotel accommodation is a basic requirement on site and will reduce journey numbers for visitors who would otherwise have to stay elsewhere.

The style of hotel envisaged is more akin to a place where people can meet, greet, eat, enjoy, collaborate and relax, as opposed to some of the major overnight branded hotels.

Although some of the major brands are moving into this sort of concept, we would encourage interest from bespoke high-end operators, providing a unique compliment to the surrounding community.

Academic accommodation

Regarding academia, we prefer to use the term academic accommodation, as this more accurately describes what is envisaged within our concept masterplan (CMP). It’s important to understand the reason for the differentiation.

The CMP outlines a “knowledge campus”, where three distinct but overlapping disciplines combine – academia, research/development, and commerce. Knowledge campus development is an emerging and relatively new market phenomenon which has grown in prominence since the pandemic.

Universities, educational institutions and academic foundations have advanced their collaboration with commercially funded organisations and academics are receiving funding for carrying through their innovative thinking.

A place to teach, learn, innovate, bring to market, earn, expand and repeat. Having all these disciplines within one quarter, designed to the highest standards, in a city which already has an outstanding lifestyle score, will attract the best talent to the area.

Just as the hotel idea is an integral part of the offer, so too is the ability to provide graduate and postgraduate living space within the development.

It is important to note that we have heard concerns about the potential for anti-social behaviour possibly caused by students migrating through local estates.

The academic accommodation we seek to provide is inward facing to Bushfield and is not conceived as a migratory space for other learning institutions within the city currently.

Even so, to give comfort, suitable security will also be a high priority. L&G is the UK’s leading landlord in academic accommodation and has vast experience in managing the same. We hope this goes some way to allaying these concerns.

What sort of students do we anticipate will be living on site?

The best way of describing the potential mix is that it will evolve as the development itself evolves. Depending on the nature and identity of our academic foundation partner and on the first pre-lets of the Office and R&D space, we will likely see a mix of graduates. You can see what we have written above for a broader outline of how the academia fits within the CMP.

Why doesn’t the site include any housing?

We would not object to an element of housing on site. However, the site has not been allocated for residential use by WCC and since we started our discussions with the City Council, we have pursued a rationale of working within the current and emerging local plan to align ourselves with the city’s elected representative and planning officers.

We firmly believe Winchester’s economic profile must be underpinned by local jobs for local people. To do this, we need a business quarter which matches the City’s extraordinary beauty and features. Housing allocations have been made on alternative sites within the city. Our priority is to work alongside the planning policy and WCC.

How much of the site is being developed?

While approximately 20 hectares (49 acres) of the site was originally allocated for development, this has been reduced and the proposals only seek to develop around 17 hectares (42 acres) of land.

Approximately 60 acres of Bushfield will be designed and landscaped as open, accessible green space for everyone.

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Planning and engagement

You’ve said you’re submitting an outline planning application – what detail will be included in this submission?

The outline application will be accompanied by several technical planning documents, including an Environmental Statement as well as a Development Specification which will set out a more detailed description of the proposed development.

The Development Specification document will set principles for how a proposed detailed development will be brought forward under a Reserved Matters application, if outline planning permission were granted.

The development principles are not intended to fix a specific design outcome at the outline stage, but to set criteria for the detailed design stages, ensuring that a high-quality development is delivered. Details of access to the site will be provided as part of the outline application and therefore this element of the design will be fixed at this stage.

As part of the outline planning application, Parameter Plans will be submitted. These set out the restrictions within which any future detailed development must work within.

For example, the following details will be shown on the Parameter Plans:

  • Layout and Scale: Parameter Plans will define the extent of areas for built development, as well as maximum building heights above ground level.
  • Landscape: Parameter Plans will identify the locations of strategic landscape elements. Further details of landscape, including landscaping within each of the Development phases will be provided through the Reserved Matters applications.
  • Access arrangements.

Not included in the outline application will be any detailed designs of the buildings proposed. While illustrative design will be shown, fixed detailed design will happen as part of future Reserved Matters applications and will be the subject of further public consultation.

The following documents were submitted to support the outline planning submission:

Chapter ref. Title
A

Introduction and Background

Appendices:

  • Site Location Plan
  • Developer Signed Statement of Competency
B

Scope, Methodology and Consultation

Appendices:

  • EIA Scoping Report
  • EIA Scoping Opinion
  • EIA Scoping Correspondence
C

Site and Scheme Description

Appendices:

  • Parameter Plans
  • Development Specification
  • Highways Drawings
  • Framework CEMP including Reptile Strategy
  • Energy Strategy
  • Sustainability Strategy
  • Waste Management Plan
  • Nutrient Neutrality Assessment
D

Landscape and Visual

Appendices:

  • Landscape and Visual Methodology
  • Viewpoint Assessment
  • Visualisations
  • Visualisation Methodology
  • South Downs National Park Technical Note
  • External Lighting Statement
  • Arboricultural Impact Assessment
E

Transport

Appendices:

  • Transport Assessment
  • Framework Travel Plan
F

Ecology

Appendices:

  • Legislation, Relevant Paragraphs
  • Preliminary Ecological Appraisal
  • Report to Inform Habitat Regulation Assessment
  • Ecological Survey Report
  • Invertebrate Assessment
  • Summary of consultation with WCC County Ecologist
  • Workshop: Winchester Action on the Climate Crisis (WinACC)
  • BNG Report
  • Soil Resource Plan
  • Ecological Management and Monitoring Statement
  • Harvest Mouse Habitat Suitability Assessment
  • Dormouse Method Statement
G

Heritage (Above and Below Ground)

Appendices:

  • Gazetteers of designated and non-designated heritage assets
  • Setting Assessment
H

Socio-Economics

Appendices:

  • N/A
I

Ground Conditions and Contamination

Appendices:

  • Contaminated Land Desk Study
  • Ground Conditions Review Report
J

Water Environment and Drainage

Appendices:

  • Flood Risk Assessment
  • Drainage Strategy
K

Noise

Appendices:

  • Noise Hierarchy Table
  • Construction Plant Assumptions
  • Traffic Data and Basic Noise Level Comparisons
  • Noise Survey Details
  • Construction Noise Predictions
  • Site Suitability Assessment
L

Air Quality

Appendices:

  • Construction Dust Assessment Methodology
  • Supplied Traffic Data
  • Dispersion Model Set Up and Parameters
  • Model Verification
  • Modelled Receptor Locations
  • Assessment of Air Quality Impacts on Ecological Sites Methodology
  • Construction Dust Mitigation Measures
  • Human Receptor Modelled Results
  • Ecological Receptor Modelled Results
  • Ecological Transect Results for River Itchen
M

Climate Change

Appendices:

  • Greenhouse Gas Calculations
  • Climate Change Resilience Risk Assessment
N

Cumulative Effects

Appendices:

  • Plan showing location of cumulative schemes

Why have you decided to submit an outline instead of a detailed application?

There are multiple reasons for starting our process with an outline planning application, as opposed to a detailed application.

Bushfield Camp is a hugely important proposal for the City of Winchester, and as such, getting everything right requires enormous attention to the process, occupier demand and the functionality of the eventual space.

Going too detailed too soon might limit the potential for the flexibility of the development in response to key considerations; making the proposals more constrained than anybody would want.

An outline consent allows us to move into a more detailed phase and means we get time to talk to occupiers, partners, users and local people/workforce, because everyone knows we have an outline consent, and the discussions are not just based on hoping something will happen.

An outline application is a very important next step and particularly important on major schemes like Bushfield because of the flexibility this process affords in design for the individual occupier requirements for the site.

Just as we all have different tastes, preferences and requirements for our own homes, so too the occupational requirements of potential tenants, which can vary enormously.

An outline consent opens the door for meaningful occupational discussion. The detailed planning application which follows is the next stage where a vast array of detail is considered and controlled. It is also vital for interested parties to note that further rounds of consultations and rights of people to comment are part of the detailed planning application process.

Who and how did you consult the public on these proposals?

We want to collaborate with local stakeholders and the community to create a scheme which puts sustainability, inclusivity and wellbeing at the heart of its design.

Central to this ethos has been the half a dozen community engagement events we’ve held – we hosted two events in May 2023, as well as two in January 2023, and two in November 2022. Each of these events invited all five of the nearby Parish Council’s to attend a VIP preview session of the material, before we opened the doors to the public, three of which were in the Badger Farm Community Centre.

In addition to these events, we have also delivered:

  • Three leaflets drops each time to nearly 3,000 residents, making a total of 9,000.
  • A dedicated website launched in October 2022 and have kept this continually updated as the project has progressed.
  • Two pop up stalls as part of the city centre market, the last one taking place on 19 May.
  • An online interactive map we’ve had over 257 comments made on our interactive map, all of which have had over 2,300 likes.
  • A social value workshop held in March, to which we invited a variety of local groups and key stakeholders.

Our events have engaged with over 800 individuals and generated nearly 300 pieces of individual feedback and countless conversations with Bushfield’s technical team.

We presented at – and engaged with – the WinACC workshop in January, bringing along the full project team.

We’ve met councillors at every stage of our three-stage engagement process; gathering feedback on the proposals, as well as canvassing understanding of the views of their residents, including 1-2-1 meetings with Cllr Laming, Cllr Warwick, Cllr Horrill and others.

Our aim is to continue this engagement throughout the pre-application stages, post-application stages, determination and then throughout the lifecycle of the entire project.

What is the legal status of the Masterplan that Winchester City Council’s Cabinet supported at their June 2023 meeting?

The Bushfield Camp Concept Masterplan was presented to the Cabinet on 21 June 2023.

As part of Cllr Jackie Porter’s report to Cabinet, it was stated that:

“Land at Bushfield Camp is allocated for employment in the current adopted Winchester District Local Plan Part 1 (Policy WT3). The policy sets out the requirement for a conservation led approach to development of the site and a range of detailed policy criteria that any future planning application will be assessed against.

“The current plan was adopted in March 2013. The Council is bringing forward a new Local Plan and has concluded its consultation on its Regulation 18 draft local plan after reviewing the policy to ensure it is deliverable in the next plan period.

“Recognising the changing nature of employment uses, the policy for Bushfield Camp has been amended to support a high-quality flexible business and employment space, an innovation/education hub and creative industries.

“The emerging plan policy will require any future application at the site to be preceded by and consistent with a comprehensive and evidence-based site wide masterplan that has been undertaken in conformity with the Councils master planning process.

“This will demonstrate how high-quality design will be delivered for the whole site which has involved and engaged with stakeholders and interested parties before it is endorsed by the local planning authority as a material consideration for development management purposes. The applicants have entered into a planning performance agreement with the local planning authority to enable the council’s planning team to comment on the site context and masterplan as it has evolved.”

At this meeting, it was decided by the Cabinet:

  1. That the concept masterplan process as undertaken by the applicants be supported and the accompanying technical document that has helped to inform the preparation of the concept masterplan for Bushfield Camp, which has been undertaken in general conformity with the Council’s emerging master planning process be noted; and
  2. That the Bushfield Camp concept masterplan that is attached at Appendix 1 of the report along with the accompanying technical document attached at Appendix 2 be agreed as a material consideration to inform the development management assessment of the planning application.

At the same Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet also voted on the general Concept Masterplan Governance process.

This report confirmed that “[the] Concept Masterplans will carry the status of Interim Planning Guidance and will be a material consideration to the determination of planning applications.”

The National Planning Practice Guidance defines a material planning consideration as “One which is relevant to making the planning decision in question”.

The Council will therefore give weight to the approved Concept Masterplan, when balancing all material considerations in the decision-making process for the outline application. 

When did you submit the planning application and how can I provide comment?

The application was submitted on 27th October and validated on 2nd November. Winchester City Council is running a statutory consultation with a deadline of 7th December, however we understand that the planning portal remains open and accepting of comments until the application is eventually determined by a planning committee.

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Height and scale

How are you addressing challenges surrounding the height and situation of the development?

In the illustrative masterplan, four-storey academic buildings are proposed for a small section of the site, which includes accommodation, constituting just under 6% of the total building footprint area.

Comprehensive analysis and stakeholder engagement informs this strategic positioning, while parameter plans ensure regulatory compliance and alignment with the site’s vision.

These buildings have a lower storey height compared to commercial structures, resulting in a four-storey academic building having a similar height to a three-storey commercial one.

Detailed analysis, involving a series of Landscape and Visual Impact (LVIA) assessments of key views, has guided their strategic placement in the site’s least visually sensitive portion — the north-west area.

Furthermore, throughout the design evolution, there has been extensive discussions and thorough evaluations involving the public and various stakeholders, including Historic England, the Design South East Design Review Panel, and the South Downs National Park.

Key engagements have taken place with the Winchester City Council Cabinet and the planning team.

A set of parameter plans has been developed to illustrate specific development criteria, encompassing details such as plot size, height restrictions, and permissible usage.

Notably, these parameters limit the height and usage of academic accommodation within its existing location.

Supporting information:

Please view our PDF of how the development might sit in the landscape

In general, the building heights have been developed to respond sensitively to key views from around the entire site, especially from the city centre, Compton, St Catherine’s Hill and the South Downs National Park.

The massing, including storey heights, has been refined iteratively to address the site’s sensitive location and views through extensive consultation, including input from the public, South Downs National Park, Historic England, Winchester City Council Cabinet, and the Winchester City Council planning team. This process also involved iterative Landscape Visual Impact testing and two Design South East Design Review Panels.

The primary principles underpinning the height strategy within the illustrative masterplan are:

  • Sensitivity to location and views: The massing (storey heights) responds to the site’s sensitive location and its impact on the views in the vicinity.
  • Enhancing the southern gateway: The masterplan seeks to create a welcoming and positive sense of arrival to Winchester from the south, acknowledging the site’s position at the city’s edge.
  • Responding to topography and landscape character: The architectural approach incorporates pitched roofs with green roofs facing the SDNP, carefully selected building materials, and stepped building levels that are in harmony with the natural topography of Bushfield and the distinct character of the surrounding area.
  • Promoting scenic vistas: Special attention has been paid to ensuring that the buildings offer panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscape, enhancing the overall experience of the site.
  • Sustainability: Lower-rise buildings tend to be more energy efficient and are aligned with the project’s sustainable goals.

The proposed two-three commercial storeys are a result of a careful analysis of the local context, consultation with statutory and communities, visual impact assessments and sustainability goals. We believe that this design approach best serves the project’s objectives while being respectful of the surrounding areas.

Both Historic England and the Design Review Panel have been complimentary and supportive of the design approach saying:

“The indicative concept designs for the proposed development is a carefully considered design, which responds well to the physical and historic environment within which it sits.”

“We recognise within the design that a key aim appears to be to keep the development as subtle in the landscape as possible, with building heights kept low, the use of sympathetic design palette and building materials and the utilisation of green roofs.”

Historic England

“We commend the progress that has been made on the strategic aspects of the landscape design since the previous review, particularly with regards to celebrating views out of the site, increasing accessibility and permeability of the surrounding fields and meadows, and enhancing local biodiversity.

“The landscape strategy sets a precedent for future developments – it will outlast the built form of the proposal and mature over time, with the potential to become a gift to Winchester that will last for a century or more.”

Design Review Panel, hosted by Design South East

I have been told the proposals have grown taller since the first consultation?

Actually, no building heights were shown in consultation 1. Overall, the building heights came down or are broadly like those presented at consultations 2 and 3, with height adjustment to suit topography and blend into the landscape more efficiently as the design considerations and consultations evolved.

There has been refinement to consider comments from stakeholders, which has resulted in heights being dropped on buildings in the north east corner of the site, which is most visible in views from the SDNP and slightly higher in the north west corner which is not as visually sensitive.

A thorough consultation program considered stakeholder feedback and adjusted commercial building heights from 3-4 to 2-3 storeys while maintaining academic accommodation at 3-4 storeys. The three-stage public engagement process aimed to align with community and environmental considerations.

During the consultation programme, we carefully considered stakeholder feedback and, whenever possible, addressed their concerns. The design team has explored various arrangements to minimise visual impact.

Public consultation has been structured around 3 stages of engagement.

  • November 2022 – Stage 01 The first phase of the consultation programme focused on gathering community aspirations for the site’s redevelopment, discussing key opportunities and constraints. Design proposals including proposed heights were not presented at this stage as we wanted to listen first and then present designs.
  • January 2023 – Stage 02 The second phase of the consultation programme aimed to demonstrate the incorporation of feedback received during the initial engagement and to gather additional input from Winchester’s people and residents regarding the draft masterplan. It was evident one of the primary concerns was the height of the proposals, with a consensus that buildings should ideally stay below existing tree lines and that strategically placed pitched roofs should be utilised to harmonise with the surrounding landscape, particularly when viewed from the South Downs National Park.
  • May 2023 – Stage 03 The third round of engagement aimed to demonstrate how community feedback, including concerns about height, had been addressed in the proposals. All interested parties had the opportunity to view and comment on the proposals before the final submission. It is important to note that the proposals have not increased in height since the final round of consultation.

Additionally, throughout the design evolution, there has been a comprehensive exchange of ideas and thorough evaluations involving various stakeholders, including WCC officers, Historic England, and the South Downs National Park. Critical to this, there have been numerous discussions around building heights and how they respond sensitively to their surroundings. A significant point of engagement has been with Winchester City Council Cabinet and the planning team.

We’ve addressed stakeholder feedback, reducing commercial building height to 2-3 storeys while maintaining 3-4 storeys for academic accommodation. The three-stage consultation process involved community input and concerns about height. Ongoing discussions with stakeholders have prioritised sensitivity to surroundings, including Historic England, Design South East Design Review Panel and Winchester City Councils planning team. Building heights have remained consistent since the final consultation, aligning with community, environmental and landscape considerations.

Supporting information
January and May consultation boards axo views.

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Transport

Do the plans include use or enhancement of the Park and Ride?

Subject to planning approval, we are excited to reveal there is a potential for Bushfield to link up to Winchester’s P&R network, with new stops along Badger Farm Road for regular services. This will be a major contribution to making Bushfield fully accessible for very large periods of the day and evening.

In addition, it is important to note that the level of car parking proposed on the site has been matched to the predicted demand of the proposed development. Therefore, we are expecting to accommodate all car parking on the site. As such, whilst the potential Park-and-Ride link up will be available to users of the Proposed Development, it is not expected that they will need to use this and the Park-and-Ride itself should not be affected by the proposals.

A comprehensive Framework Travel Plan will be in place for the Proposed Development which will monitor and manage travel to/from the occupied development, this will include monitoring of people parking in the Park-and-Ride car parks. However, it is important to note that we have talked in detail to the operators of the P&R and there is nothing to stop people parking there and using the bus service to access Bushfield if that is what they prefer to do.

What is the scope of the Transport Assessment?

The Transport Assessment scope has been considered in detail as a result of discussions with a range of stakeholders:

  • Hampshire County Council are the Local Highway Authority and ultimately, the authority that will consider whether our Transport Assessment is fit for purpose.
  • We have had extensive and regular discussions with HCC on a range of issues including working through options for the site access strategy to ensure we are promoting the most appropriate proposals. HCC have also reviewed and agreed our forecasts of who will travel to/from the Proposed Development, how often and when. As a result, our Transport Assessment will present a robust consideration of the impact of the Proposed Development on the surrounding transport and highway networks.
  • National Highways are responsible for the M3 and will consider whether the Proposed Development has a detrimental impact on users of the Strategic Road Network. We have also consulted NH in detail to ensure that our proposals are appropriate, as a number of site users will come from the M3. NH have also agreed to our forecasts of who will travel to/from the Proposed Development, how often and when.
  • Winchester City Council have been consulted throughout the pre-application process to ensure that transport and access matters are considered in detail and in line with Winchester’s current and emerging policies. Transport matters have been an integral part of the development of the Illustrative Masterplan which has been reviewed in detail by WCC.
  • The Transport Assessment presents the outcome of this detailed pre-application and masterplanning process.
  • Local residents, Sustrans, and local bus operators have all been consulted through the pre-application process to present the emerging proposals, and to better understand those matters where there was more work to be done. The Transport Assessment represents the culmination of that process and presents the transport and access proposals for the Proposed Development and the rationale by which they have been proposed.

The Transport Assessment document itself considers and presents the following:

  • The policy background upon which the transport aspects of the Proposed Development have come forward.
  • A detailed consideration of the transport baseline for a range of access modes including walking, cycling, public transport and by road. This covers the Site itself, the surroundings and how this ties into the wider Winchester networks.
  • A summary of the Proposed Development and Concept Masterplan, and how this relates to transport matters, including the specific proposals which are being proposed alongside the Masterplan to ensure a sustainable transport-led development.
  • A presentation of the trip generation (how many people will travel and when), mode choices (what method people will use to travel) and trip distribution (what routes will those people use).
  • An assessment of those trips on the relevant networks: pedestrians on the local walking network, bicycle users on the local and national cycle network, public transport users on the bus and rail networks, and vehicle users on the highway network.
  • The highway network assessment is detailed and covers the full length of Badger Farm Road, Romsey Road between Pitt Roundabout and Chilbolton Ave Roundabout (inclusive), Hockley Link and both parts of M3 Junction 11, and Twyford Village. This scope and extent was agreed with both HCC and NH as being appropriate and relevant for the Proposed Development to capture all the parts of the road network where the Proposed Development could have a practical impact.
  • A significant package of measures to support road users regardless of how they travel to the site.

What vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist improvements are you proposing?

We have been working closely with Winchester City Council, Hampshire County Council and National Highways with regard to transport and parking provision. We are all driven by delivering sustainable travel and realise we are in a period of change.

The climate emergency demands that petrol car borne travel needs to reduce but the transformation needed to our collective transport infrastructure still needs to happen.

We therefore recognise the importance of partnering with key organisations to help facilitate that change.

The masterplan encourages sustainable travel through the provision of:

  • A sustainable mobility hub which will include electric and non-electric bike facilities and charging, cycle parking, bicycle repair station, bus stops, real time information boards, EV and car club parking, delivery lockers and drop off facilities. Individual buildings will have provision for cyclists to change and store their bicycles.
  • New bus stops on Badger Farm Road for use by the Park & Ride buses, providing a frequent link to the City Centre and Winchester Railway Station
  • Bus stop and footway upgrades on Otterbourne Road to better connect the site to the Bluestar 1 Bus Route
  • New pedestrian and cycling connections from Badger Farm via Whiteshute Ridge, and crossing Badger Farm Road plus a new route to St Cross Roundabout, new crossings around St Cross roundabout, which will improve access to St Catherine’s Hill and the South Downs National Park. A new northern route is planned to give pedestrian access via Stanmore Lane and the city centre beyond with the potential to upgrade to cycle access too.
  • A new pedestrian and cycle route through the site will help to improve Winchester’s connection to Cycle Route 23 via the site.
  • Improvements to the surfacing of paths connecting to Whiteshute Ridge, to improve accessibility for people from all parts of the community. For example, through the use of appropriate materials such as bound gravel or similar (not tarmac).
  • A walkable, people-friendly network throughout the site which is open to the public. It will retain, expand and enhance the current Public Right of Way (PROW) network in and around the site.
  • On-site parking as well as use of the nearby Park and Ride to appropriately provide for new site users without encouraging inappropriate levels of car use.

Have there been any discussions with bus service providers about the potential for new bus routes? How far along is this and what level of confidence is there that new bus routes will happen?

As stated above, we have agreed with WCC that the P&R bus service will now stop outside Bushfield in both directions, and we are delighted that this regular service will support access to the site.

However, in addition we are also committed to providing a bespoke supporting bus service to serve users of the site. The precise details of this service and how it will best operate will be decided upon once the development is at its first operational stage. In this way it can be designed to maximise operational efficiency.

Will the introduction of light-controlled crossings on Badger Farm Road add to the traffic delays and congestion?

Existing traffic congestion on Badger Farm Road primarily occurs due to vehicles trying to travel into Winchester City Centre in the mornings via Romsey Road and St Cross Road. Both these routes queue at the height of the morning rush hour and traffic extends down Badger Farm Road. Badger Farm Road itself is not the source of the congestion.

As traffic flows increase over time (regardless of the proposed development) this queuing will become worse and without intervention congestion will occur more frequently at the St Cross Road roundabout.

In addition to introducing a signal-controlled junction at Badger Farm Road, we are also proposing to do the following:

  1. Provide new road space for future site users both on Badger Farm Road and through St Cross Road Roundabout, so there would be no space taken away from existing users; /li>
  2. Provide new capacity at St Cross Roundabout to ensure that the roundabout operates effectively for both existing and future users, including bus users and regardless of the Proposed Development; and /li>
  3. New pedestrian and cycle crossings and routes will provide safe and convenient crossing points where currently vulnerable users must walk out into traffic to cross. The new crossings should encourage more walking and cycling both to the Proposed Development and Winchester more generally, reducing the need to drive and therefore reducing traffic pressure here and elsewhere in the city.

Detailed traffic modelling has been undertaken to assess the impacts of the proposals to ensure that they can operate as planned and provide adequate capacity for current and future users, and those travelling to/from the Proposed Development. The proposed junctions are also designed in accordance with current highway standards, which are safer and of a higher quality than the historic standards of the route.

Blue-light services can travel along Badger Farm Road as they currently do. Indeed, the additional physical road space available will provide as much, or even more ability to clear and pass stopped vehicles. The proposed highway improvements provide additional capacity for future growth and therefore are expected to reduce future congestion which would otherwise make passing through the area more difficult.

Those parts of Winchester towards the city centre are not significantly affected by the proposals as most new users that are expected to drive to the site will come to/from the southern approaches to the city.

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Ecology and open space

What is the extent of the undeveloped land?

The overall site extends to 44 hectares. Circa 26 hectares (in excess of 60 acres) will not be developed and is to be retained and managed as publicly accessible and biodiverse green space giving a legacy to the people of Winchester.

Who is going to own the undeveloped land and how will it be protected?

L&G, Gisborne and the Church Commissioners for England are committed to involving local stakeholders in the future management of the site as we create a framework partnership to ensure habitats are managed according to best practice and that the needs of the protected species on site are met.

An environmental management plan and construction environmental management plan has been created as part of the outline planning application to demonstrate how the mitigation and best practice will be secured as part of the planning process.

What are you planning to do to the fields in the north and to the east of the proposed development?

The masterplan represents an opportunity to improve access and secure the long-term future management of the previously undeveloped parts of the site for recreational use and environmental benefit.

The development will bring forward 5 hectares of public realm within the developed area and 9 hectares to the east, currently in agricultural use. In total, it will create 14 hectares of brand new connected accessible greenspace.

There is currently permitted access to Drovers Field (17ha) to the north of the site. The project team are committed to carefully protecting, managing, and enhancing the existing habitats in the north of the site through a long-term, site-wide management plan secured as part of the consent.

In the 9 hectares of arable fields to the east of the development, we will be creating new chalk grassland habitat of high value to wildlife, aiming to meet the criteria for achieving ‘Site of Importance for Nature Conservation’, according to the County Council.

This will replace the area of grassland habitat lost as part of the proposed development, as well as providing an additional area of chalk grassland created and managed with the aim of supporting reptile species displaced by the construction area.

New footpaths will improve access to both these areas and offer views over the SDNP and city of Winchester.

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Other questions

How will this site be affected by the new Solent Freeport?

We see any increase in inward investment in the region as potentially beneficial in broad economic terms. However, it is very difficult given the early status of the Solent Freeport to give specific criteria on how Bushfield might be affected.

What, if any, archaeological or historic surveys have been conducted on the site?

Wessex Archaeology undertook an evaluation comprising twenty-six trenches in 2010 following an earlier geophysical survey of the site. Most of the archaeology was relatively sparse and relates to late prehistoric and Romano-British field systems.
lthough there was some truncation of features due to modern ploughing and the construction of the military camp, archaeological features were shown to have survived, particularly in areas without permanent structures.

The archaeological resource of the site has been adequately defined and it has been agreed through recent consultation with the Winchester City Archaeologist that appropriate further targeted excavation will be required prior to the construction phases at the site. The details of which can be found in the EIA.

What will you be providing at Bushfield that differs from the vacant office buildings currently available in the city centre?

Bushfield will offer new stock for occupiers who are focused on acquiring best-in-class space to attract and retain talent.

It will offer scale and larger buildings capable of attracting HQ uses and creating significant employment opportunities. From our data, we can see c 22,000 sq ft. as the largest available second-hand town centre space and this is arranged over 4 levels.

It will also offer large floor plates, attracting large companies which like to arrange their people on one level to create team connections. The design of Bushfield allows for large floorplates, in some cases over 20,000 sq ft – which in the city centre would be over 3-4 floors, hence fragmenting the company’s operations.

Another net benefit Bushfield will deliver is greater choice. The split between town centre take-up and out of town or edge of town space, across the wider SE market is 45% out of town to 55% in town.

The perception that everyone wants to be situated within the town centre is not evidenced.
Larger occupiers want to create their own brand in their building and provide amenities bespoke to their employees in a larger HQ – and they can do this successfully in campus development.

Research and tech sectors in particular have a history of taking out-of-town space – the US influence has affected this approach, but it has also been seen in the UK for the last 30 years. Winchester would benefit from having a new city centre HQ to attract occupiers wanting best-in-class space and to give choice – we can already see this dynamic working in Reading and Maidenhead very successfully.

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We want your thoughts

Let us know what you would like to see incorporated as part of the 26 hectares (in excess of 60 acres) of legacy land that will be retained as publicly accessible and biodiverse green space.

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