The AJ100 practice’s business-focused Bushfield Camp Regeneration scheme is for the Church Commissioners for England – the Church of England’s property division – in partnership with Legal &General and Gisborne.
It comprises community facilities, workspaces and public areas, centred around a new ‘purpose-built knowledge park’.
According to Make, the development would ‘nestle’ into its surrounding natural landscape on the doorstep of the South Downs National Park in Hampshire, providing office, academic and employment floor space, as well as potential ancillary retail space, a sports hub, hotel and nursery.
In a design and access statement submitted at the end of October to gain outline planning permission, Make said the scheme, intends to ‘strengthen Winchester’s growing knowledge economy, foster innovation, and improve user well-being’.
The masterplan was designed with landscape architect Gillespies and developed in partnership with Winchester City Council.
Make said its ’embraces landscape-led design principles’ and would create more than 26ha of publicly accessible, undeveloped and ‘biodiverse’ green open space for Winchester residents.
The submission includes a statement responding to Winchester City Council’s 2019 climate emergency declaration outlining its commitment to carbon neutrality across the district by 2030.
The council first allocated Bushfield Camp as a site for development in 2013. A masterplan for the former army base was approved by Winchester Council in June.
The scheme has been widely scrutinised by Winchester residents and councillors since it was first proposed, with concerns mainly centred around the increased impact of traffic on the site.
Councillor Brian Laming said the ‘2,500 to 3,500 employees expected on site’ would ‘increase the number of vehicles to a level that the road system is incapable of handling’, causing a ‘dangerous’ added strain on the roads, according to a Hampshire Chronicle report.
And members of Badger Farm and Oliver’s Battery Residents Community Association said they were ‘dismayed’ at the proposal, which they said residents felt ‘duped’ by, and demanded assurances that ‘there will be no development creep and that the development is restricted to that area’.
The Church Commissioners for England, Legal & General, and Gisborne say they hope the development will attract ‘major organisations looking for new headquarters across life science, media and health sectors’.
They said Bushfield’s appropriateness for new development ‘was spotlighted after the rapid growth of Hampshire’s specialist scale-ups’, with an estimated 53,000 people employed in tech and digital businesses in the county.
The developers put Winchester among the ‘previously overlooked cities’ with a history of innovation which feeds the ‘golden triangle’ of UK life sciences in Oxford, Cambridge and London.
Ben Rodgers, head of regeneration for Legal & General’s Real Assets division, said: ‘It is important to recognise the importance of supply chains and specialist sub-sectors that feed creative solutions into [the UK’s more well-established life sciences spheres], as they are an essential part of the research and development process.’
Joanna Loxton, head of strategic land at the Church Commissioners for England, said Bushfield would ‘not only reduce the need for people to migrate to other locations but will actively pull into its orbit scale-ups and specialist businesses that have been considering alternative locations.’