Plans submitted to transform disused Bushfield Camp into 44-hectare “best-in-class” knowledge and innovation hub
The Church Commissioners for England, in partnership with Legal & General and Gisborne, have submitted a planning application for a 44-hectare, employment-led knowledge and innovation hub in Winchester.
As detailed in the recently approved masterplan, the redevelopment of the disused army camp on the edge of the city will see a best-in-class scheme brought forward, creating hundreds of jobs and attracting major employers looking for new headquarters across life science, academia, media and health sectors.
Joanna Loxton, Head of Strategic Land at the Church Commissioners for England, said: “Bushfield will provide critical employment led space which will serve Winchester and Hampshire’s growing business economy while adding to the diversity of Winchester’s employment offer.
“We expect this purpose-built space will not only reduce the need for people to migrate to other locations, but will actively pull into its orbit scale-ups and specialist businesses that have been considering alternative locations.”
Bushfield Camp was first allocated by Winchester City Council as a site for employment-led development in 2013. As detailed in the masterplan, the vision for Bushfield Camp was designed by international architecture and landscape practices MAKE and Gillespies and developed in close consultation with the wider community across half a dozen engagement events.
The resulting plans for the development centre on a purpose-built knowledge park at the core, attracting major organisations looking for new headquarters across life science, media and health sectors.
Intended as a new and complimentary cornerstone of Winchester’s employment offer, Bushfield will feature a blend of office, academic and employment floor space. In addition, amenities intended to create a vibrant community, which could include ancillary retail space, a sports hub, hotel, and nursery.
A very significant social and community benefit of the proposal will be the development partnership’s commitment to provide over 60 acres of land for use as new publicly accessible and biodiverse green space for the city, which the Commissioners intend to provide in perpetuity. Engagement on this unique and exciting land, immediately adjacent to the development site, will begin shortly.
Bushfield’s appropriateness for new development was spotlighted after the rapid growth of Hampshire’s specialist scale-ups which underpin emerging sectors where the UK is a global force. This has caught the interest of national and regional institutions and research providers exploring options to set up additional knowledge and innovation hubs.
The establishment of the ‘Golden Triangle’ of UK life sciences, Oxford, Cambridge and London positions the UK as a global science superpower. As a direct result, previously overlooked cities with a history of innovation and high quality of life are now also thriving – becoming increasingly attractive for innovative companies, foundations and organisations seeking to attract and retain leading talent in quality environments.
“Attention is deservedly given to the well-established spheres of life science, innovation and media in the UK. It is important however to recognise the importance of supply chains and specialist sub-sectors that feed creative solutions into them, as they are an essential part of the research and development process,” said Ben Rodgers, Head of Regeneration for Legal & General’s Real Assets division.
He continued: “The Church Commissioners for England, Legal & General and Gisborne have worked alongside Winchester City Council to ensure Bushfield delivers both economically and environmentally, in support of the Council’s declared nature and climate emergency policies.
“With this in mind, we have worked closely with the Council throughout the landscape-led masterplan and will continue to do so in support of the recently declared nature emergency. We are committed to presenting a masterplan and application process which delivers for the City, its residents and Council.”
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Over the coming months, we will be undertaking a comprehensive and transparent three stage consultation programme, reviewing all feedback received throughout, and where possible, incorporating this into the final proposals prior to submitting an application to Winchester City Council.
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