Winchester engages Arup to design a (temporary) public space area

29 March 2022 2 min. read
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Professional services firm Arup has become the latest design firm tapped for a makeover for part of Winchester.

After the building was left derelict for years, the Friarsgate Medical Centre has been earmarked for development by the local council in Winchester. Winchester City Council announced they had put forward an application to demolish the building, which has been empty since 2014.

Leaders in the Hampshire city argue the plans will bring "significant short-term community benefits for local people". In the meantime, the site of a disused GP practice could be used as an area of open space for the public.

Arup tasked with Winchester temp-makeover

Looking to forge ahead with these plans, the council contacted Arup – with the engineering consulting firm having since lodged proposals to create temporary public space. Arup’s plans feature a new timber-decking bridge over the River Itchen watercourse, tree-planting, picnic benches, and an environmentally sustainable lighting strategy for evening events – so that the location can be used during the procurement process for its long-term redevelopment. Artistic impressions of the project also suggest there will be space for food trucks.

Arup Director Sophie Camburn said the design was “driven by circular economy principles to create a creative and dynamic public realm for all users.” They will also provide three new north-south access routes to Winchester bus station and the city centre, she added.

The destruction of Friars Gate Medical Centre will be part of a wider redevelopment of the Central Winchester Regeneration area. Arup’s appointment follows the earlier installation of Studio Multi as part of that.

The Studio Multi designers have been tapped to create “meanwhile” upgrade proposals for the Kings Walk shopping centre in the city – where more long-term redevelopment plans are progressing slowly. The site has stalled since 2015, when a £165 million project drawn up by Allies & Morrison for TIAA Henderson Real Estate foundered.

At the time, the council was found to have seriously breached procurement rules when it appointed Henderson on terms renegotiated from an earlier agreement.