Andrew Napier

Chief Reporter

Andrew Napier is the chief reporter in the Winchester district office working for the Hampshire Chronicle and Romsey Advertiser.

Andrew Napier is the chief reporter in the Winchester district office working for the Hampshire Chronicle and Romsey Advertiser.

Latest articles from Andrew Napier

Plan to demolish eyesore and build six flats

AN eyesore in Winchester city centre could be demolished and replaced by a five-story block of flats.A developer is proposing to knock down the RAOB club in Cross Keys Passage and replace with six flats and a shop.The developer is Old Basing Mews Ltd whose director Alan Stone, the former leader of Hampshire UKIP, previously proposed building a house on the Water Garden off Colebrook Street. It sparked the biggest planning storm in recent years with more than 1,000 objections. The plan was later refused.The RAOB club is on the edge of the Silver Hill area which the city council is hoping to develop as part of the Central Winchester Regeneration.A planning application has been submitted to the city council with a statement by Southern Planning Practice saying: "The redevelopment of the RAOB club will make efficient use of a previously developed site which will act as a design catalyst for the regeneration of the wider Central Winchester Regeneration Area."The proposals will provide a high-quality building which would reflect and enhance the character and appearance of the area."The redevelopment of the site will animate Cross Keys Passage and much improve the public realm along this walkway."The Southern Planning Practice said the Veryan Lyons, Head of Programme for the Central Winchester Regeneration Area, and Robert Green, Team Leader, had been met and expressed "some support... as the council are keen to see the regeneration area redevelop. It was stated that whilst the land within the councils’ ownership is likely to take 2-3 years to come forward, the council are hoping to create some activity along Kings Walk in the short term with pop up event spaces and small retail units before the full redevelopment of the site".However the city council planners have responded and are concerned the building which would be taller than nearby Woolstaplers Hall. The Southern Planning Practice statement acknowledges that the planning officers pre-application advice raises concerns. “Whilst I do appreciate your points regarding this being a ‘stand-out’ building due to its location, this must be balanced against the context of the area and the preservation of Winchester’s conservation area and the current proposals do not meet that test.”It had been widely assumed that the RAOB club had been purchased by Thornfield Development early in the last decade as it gathered together land holdings for its application which was derailed by a legal challenge from city councillor Kim Gottlieb.The proposal will comprise three one-bedroom flats and two three-bed flats with a west-facing communal roof terrace.The Water Garden plan was rejected by the city council in 2020. Mr Stone purchases the land in 2018 immediately stirring a campiagn that succeeded in scuppering the scheme.