DEVELOPERS of the £100m Silver Hill project in Winchester must overcome the final major hurdle at a public inquiry starting today into the compulsory purchase of land.

The city council and the developer Henderson Global Investors are attempting to acquire all the land needed but several landowners are resisting.

The scheme, which already has planning permission, envisages 287 homes, just under 100,000 square feet of new retail space, offices, a new bus station, public car park and new public spaces.

Other landowners and architects are resisting the CPO order.

Sainsbury's which has a store inside the Silver Hill area, has objected. Its agent Robin Denness has questioned the whole scheme, branding it “disjointed” and lacking overall focus.

Mr Denness, in his proof of evidence, said; “The opportunity is missed to fully integrate and strengthen the overall shopping core within the city centre.”

London and Henley, which owns land within Silver Hill, wants to develop its land separately. Consultant Bruce Hartley-Raven said the CPO was neither “necessary or appropriate.”

Meanwhile local classical architect Robert Adam says the Silver Hill scheme is too big. “This proposal is profoundly damaging to one of the most important city centres in the south of England.”

Objectors also include major landowner St John's Winchester Charity and St Clement's Surgery.

The inquiry is due to last eight days and will be held in Winchester Guildhall. It is open to the public. A planning inspector will make a recommendation to Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government.

Thornfield Properties went bust in 2010 and the scheme has been taken over by Henderson Global Investors.