Skip to main content

To: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP

Save Winchester, the ancient capital of England

Please call in the applications for the Silver Hill development site promoted by Winchester City Council on land it owns itself, and please initiate a full investigation into proposals which would destroy the historic character of the ancient capital of England.

Why is this important?

Winchester was an important Roman city and later became the Anglo-Saxon capital of Wessex under King Alfred the Great. It is the birthplace of England, where much of its language, heritage, culture, democracy, education and law was established, and it holds an exceptional position in British history.

The Silver Hill proposals encompass 5 acres, a very considerable proportion of the city centre, and they constitute the most significant and contentious development in Winchester’s modern history.

Everyone agrees that this part of the city centre needs to be regenerated, but the objections of thousands of residents to the current proposals are due to the overwhelming scale and dismal nature of its architecture. A dull and uniform mass of such size will suffocate the appeal and character of an historic cathedral city. It will jeopardize the city’s future vitality, and its outdated retail concept will emasculate the city’s thriving high street, the oldest in northern Europe.

The objections are also based on Winchester City Council’s failure to procure the contract, so that over the last 13 years they have only ever considered the one proposal by the one developer, T.H. Real Estate (aka Henderson). Residents have questioned why, when Winchester is so full of architectural talent, has the Council never considered any alternative, more sympathetic proposals for what should be a civic-led development. They have also asked how, when Henderson’s 2014 proposal was derailed by a Judicial Review, the Council has agreed to let Henderson revert to an earlier version of the proposal approved in 2009, which both parties declared was unviable.

Despite being roundly criticised by a High Court Judge for being in “serious breach” of the procurement regulations, the Council has failed to take the opportunity it has had to remedy the situation, the result being the relentless progress of a senseless and entirely predictable disaster, in the face of huge opposition.

Winchester was the foundation of England, and the joyous charm of its city centre reflects a spirit of a cohesive community respectful of its historic environment. Don’t let that be lost. Winchester deserves a future as rich as its past, and only with your intervention can that be assured.

For more information on the campaign please visit:
- the Winchester Deserves Better website:
- the Facebook page:
- or the Twitter page:

For more information on SAVE's alternative scheme, being developed by Winchester architect Huw Thomas, please see our website and press release:

To donate to SAVE Britain's Heritage and support the campaign please click on the 'donate' button on our homepage:


Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL



2015-07-08 17:37:20 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2015-07-08 13:38:15 +0100

500 signatures reached

2015-07-08 11:39:47 +0100

100 signatures reached

2015-07-08 11:32:44 +0100

50 signatures reached

2015-07-08 08:12:45 +0100

25 signatures reached

2015-07-08 05:56:51 +0100

10 signatures reached