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:

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.”

17 February 2022


Winchester City Council will be launching the procurement process for a development partner for the regeneration of a significant area in the centre of Winchester on 17 March 2022.

The transformation of this key part of Winchester aims to bring significant benefits to people living and working in and around the district, including the delivery of flexible workspace, retail and leisure facilities, high quality homes and an attractive public realm.

This announcement follows the council’s decision to proceed with plans to regenerate the Central Winchester Regeneration (CWR) area and realise the redevelopment of the bus station, Kings Walk, the old Friarsgate Medical Centre and Coitbury House.  The vision, as set out in the agreed CWR Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), is for a vibrant, mixed-use destination which is highly sustainable, reducing reliance on cars in the city centre whilst adding to Winchester’s already rich and varied heritage and cultural offer.

Proposals for the redevelopment of the CWR site have already been prepared in conjunction with JLL and Arup.  JLL will continue to support the council on the detailed delivery of the procurement process over the coming months.  The approach is underpinned by a massing study, cost plan and viability assessment to ensure that the investment objectives are viable and deliverable.

Cllr Kelsie Learney, Cabinet Member for Housing and Asset Management, said: “The regeneration of central Winchester represents a fantastic opportunity and sends out a strong message to the UK investor community that we mean business.  After many years of detailed and fruitful public consultation, the council and the public have demonstrated a shared vision and our joint ambition to drive forward this transformational opportunity.

“Winchester now has the opportunity to ‘reinvent’ itself as a place that will be more attractive to investors and occupiers, adapting for the twenty-first century, while expanding its cultural offer.  As part of our aspiration for the city, we will be seeking a partner with the right skills, resources, commitment, approach and a proven track record with similar projects, to deliver our vision and investment objectives for the development of central Winchester.  There has never been a better time to live, work or invest in Winchester.”

Jennifer Newsham, Director of JLL, said: “Having worked closely with the city council to support its aspirations to create a vision for the regeneration of central Winchester, we are excited to bring this extremely attractive site to the market to secure a long-term development partner.  Winchester currently represents one of the most exciting development opportunities in the UK.  It is a city with a fundamentally strong market and an established base of talented people and businesses to build on.  It is also a place that will – with further investment at an appropriate scale – continue to attract new talent and different types of businesses.”

Paul Spencer, Executive Director of Winchester Business Improvement District (BID), an organisation working with over 700 businesses in Winchester city centre, across a broad range of sectors, said: “The response from our members has been overwhelmingly positive – there is a clear support and enthusiasm from the Winchester business community to move forward and we are extremely excited to be at the stage we are now as a city. We look forward to seeing Winchester take the next steps towards realising the potential of this key city centre site, which will be important to the city, district and wider region.”

Laura Taylor, Chief Executive of Winchester City Council said: “This is a great opportunity for a development partner to support the council in achieving a truly significant transformation of the centre of Winchester. 

“Like many cities in the UK, we are having to address the challenges of reshaping our built environment to meet the needs of the 21st century.  Our plans for CWR focus on sustainable development, encouraging reductions in our carbon footprint and helping to make Winchester an exemplar of carbon and environmental management.  The proposals also serve to integrate city centre living with new workspace and a greatly enhanced retail offer, while seeking to encourage young people to stay in Winchester by offering employment opportunities and creating a more vibrant night-time economy.  This will result in a significantly improved commercial and cultural offer in the city and we would ask any interested development partner to get in touch and find out how they can be a part of our continuing success story.”

7 March 2022

Understanding the regeneration challenges facing heritage cities

Veryan Lyons, Head of Programme, Central Winchester Regeneration Opportunity

The UK’s heritage cities are at the intersection of two worlds.

Deeply rooted in rich history and culture, they also require sensitive regeneration to create places that local people can enjoy and where business can thrive.  Some are embarking upon a transition from traditional retail models; others are tackling the fact that demographic shifts have left younger people priced out of housing and lacking in opportunity.

Reimagining our heritage cities offers us a way to future-proof them and this involves addressing a unique set of challenges.

It is important to consider how regenerating a heritage city aligns with the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda.  The Government’s pathway sets out wide-ranging goals for more equitable distribution of opportunities and investment, to boost underperforming regions through a ‘virtuous circle of agglomeration’ where towns benefit from skilled people, flourishing businesses, good transport links and housing.  Historic cities can be relatively prosperous due to their tourism offer but may often still be striving for the same goals as cities which have been decimated by the loss of a major industrial, retail or commercial base.  The ability of all types of cities to reinvent themselves depends on how they adapt to shifting trends and future requirements.

Historic cities as drivers of regional economic growth

We fully understand the pivotal role of heritage cities as conduits for growth and long-term economic prosperity within the context of their wider regions.  Chichester, Durham, Winchester and similar cathedral cities face the challenge of delivering redevelopment projects that are able to replace such losses but also remain thoughtfully aligned with – and complementary to – the historical, protected nature of the built environment.  Durham is a much-loved cathedral city that also acts as the centre for the surrounding area.  The city is more affluent than the wider county but for it to remain a driver of growth, it is looking to revitalise its centre, not least to compensate for the loss of retail it has experienced in recent years.  Likewise, when Winchester thrives, the benefits are felt across the district.

We are seeking to address the pressing regeneration needs of places that were designed for earlier centuries and which now aim to provide workspaces, housing and social spaces for a new generation of residents, workers and visitors.  In Winchester, the huge changes we have seen in working patterns – particularly in the wake of the pandemic – towards flexible and sustainable workspaces supported by modern infrastructure have prompted a rethinking of how outdated areas of the city, often built in the sixties and seventies, can be reinvented to match the requirements of a very different world.  Over the last five years we have worked closely with residents and businesses – they support this rethinking and we have been moving steadily ahead to address their needs via a shared vision.

A challenge which arises again and again is how to provide sufficient, affordable housing to attract young people into heritage cities and encourage students to stay for the long term.  A city like Winchester needs more city centre housing, including homes targeted specifically at young people, key workers and families.  Other councils face different issues. 

Heritage cities are, due to their relative affluence, less likely to access government funding than cities which are seen to be more deprived or visibly in decline.  One solution is to seek a like-minded delivery partner sensitive to the needs of a heritage city, the ambitions of the younger generation and demands of residents for more sustainable living.  We’ve been deploying this method in the hope of enabling a 2,000-year-old city to face up to the challenges of the 21st century and overcoming them through considered and strategic long-term investment in the built environment.  Winchester is currently seeking to revitalise its city centre and diversify the existing mix of uses with a 3.68-acre regeneration scheme.

A sustainable future

With decarbonisation a key national priority, heritage cities need to think about reducing emissions while continuing to remain dependent on large numbers of visitors every year.

Residents, occupiers and investors are increasingly conscious of sustainability criteria.  JLL’s ‘Property Predictions 2020 Investor Survey Results’ notes that around 70% of investors believe that sustainability and climate change will have the greatest long-term impact on UK real estate with key drivers being higher occupancy and rents, tenant retention and long-term value preservation and creation.  And a growing number of employees (almost four out of ten according to some findings) are placing the sustainability practices of organisations under scrutiny in the war to win – and retain – talent, with millennials in particular suggesting that their job choice was influenced by an employer’s sustainability policy. 

Buildings – and cities – which are not sustainable cannot deliver long-term returns and community benefits.  Sustainable regeneration and repurposing are crucial for heritage cities to contribute to the bigger ‘levelling up’ picture.

The effective functioning of heritage cities as hubs for a wider area is also linked to improved public transport.  This in turn can deliver environmental benefits, as can measures to extend pedestrianisation to drive tourism and access to natural public spaces.  In setting the foundations for a sustainable future, there are further intricacies and challenges involved in updating historic buildings with modern, smart technologies and systems while still respecting the historical backdrop of the city.

Heritage city regeneration benefits people and areas beyond the immediate community affected by development.  Nonetheless, it requires a strong understanding of the issues facing a particular city together with a development partner prepared to collaborate closely with a local authority in responding to the specific challenges of conserving the past while simultaneously investing in the future.

7 March 2022


Winchester City Council has appointed architects Studio Multi to take forward plans focusing on the upgrade of the Kings Walk Shopping Arcade in the centre of the city. 

The team, led by Studio Multi, which will include architects, landscape architects, lighting and graphic designers, has been selected from a shortlist of proposals aimed at breathing new life into the outdated arcade.  The plans will focus on improving retail frontages along Middle Brook Street and Silver Hill, finding an innovative use for the flank wall of the adjacent Friarsgate car park and creating opportunities to improve the open spaces across this key area of the city centre, which is also home to the Nutshell Theatre. 

This approach will result in clear plans to improve the existing public realm and introduce imaginative wayfinding throughout the shopping arcade, making it easier to navigate between different parts of the city centre.

The proposals are currently being worked up in detail by Studio Multi.  They will present a design that aims to attract more creative, independent businesses to the centre of Winchester.  The design will also encourage street artists and performers to activate the reconfigured public spaces in ways which are both engaging and entertaining for all those accessing the Kings Walk Arcade. 

The upgrade will be delivered through a ‘meanwhile use’ application across an area covering some 1,770 square metres.  This will revitalise the area in the short term whilst a procurement process to appoint a development partner for the Central Winchester Regeneration (CWR) Opportunity is underway.  The delivery of the CWR Opportunity will ultimately result in the transformation and improvement of a larger part of the city centre, including Kings Walk, Friarsgate and Silver Hill.

Studio Multi’s approach is focusing on:

Nicola Rutt, Director of Studio Multi, said: “We are excited about working with Winchester City Council to revitalise this key part of the city.  Our team combines a range of different design skills which will allow us to create a far more inviting and positive series of spaces than currently exists as well as make a significant contribution to improving the overall character and appearance of the area.  We are also delivering our proposals in a way which seeks to improve opportunities for traders as much as for visitors, while engaging local creative organisations in the design process.  Our particular emphasis is on revitalising the open spaces of Kings Walk and turning them into usable extensions of indoor spaces, not least in response to the increasing demand for such areas in the wake of the pandemic.”

Cllr Kelsie Learney, Cabinet Member for Housing and Asset Management said: “While the longer-term plans for the transformation of central Winchester take shape, it is really important to introduce interim ways of making the city centre more attractive to local people and visitors, as well as addressing the reasons for some of the anti-social behaviour which, sadly, currently affects Kings Walk.  This is a great opportunity to give a short-term boost to the look and feel of our city centre and encourage growth of the active creative and cultural community in our area.”

Winchester City Council recently announced that it will be launching the procurement process for a development partner for the regeneration of Winchester city centre, which includes Kings Walk, Middle Brook Street and Silver Hill.  The wider transformation of this key part of Winchester aims to bring significant long-term benefits to people living and working in and around the district, including the delivery of flexible workspace, retail and leisure facilities, high quality homes and an attractive public realm.