Q. What are the buildings used for at the moment?
A. There are the two 1960s houses at 78 and 79 Kingsgate; these are occupied by College Staff. Additionally the older buildings provide some general school accommodation, two further residential units and some teaching spaces.
Q. What is your plan for the site?
A. Winchester College seeks to redevelop the site for open market rental housing. The development will not only make more efficient use of this prime city centre site, but will also result in a more aesthetically pleasing frontage for users of Kingsgate Street and College Street.
Q. What happens to the functions currently served by the buildings?
A. The conversion of 73 Kingsgate has provided new offices to allow those administrative functions initially in Wellington House to be relocated. Teaching space has been found in the main teaching areas of the school. Some support functions will continue in Wellington House until the project commences on site.
Q. Why are you planning the redevelopment of this site?
A. The older buildings on the site are in a poor condition. They require significant expenditure to bring them back to a good condition, but their configuration is inappropriate for their current uses. The redevelopment will make much more efficient use of the site.
Q. Had there been early consultation on the designs?
A. Yes; as ‘Site 2’ this development opportunity featured in the Campus Conservation and Development Framework published in 2010 following a process of public consultation. That document and its supporting reports are available on the college website.
A public consultation took place and extensive discussions both before and during the application process with Historic England and City Council Officers informed the final design.
Q. Why have architects from Cambridgeshire been appointed to this project?
A. The College is aware of the sensitivity of this site and wished to ensure development to the highest standards. To that end they considered a number of companies before interviewing four very good architects, two of them local firms.
All those interviewed were capable of delivering a good solution on this site. The College is delighted with the sensitivity of approach and the emerging designs of their appointed architects Cowper Griffith Architects.
Q. This development is going to cause considerable disruption on this confined plot, is it not?
A. Some temporary disruption is inevitable but the works will be managed to minimise as far as practicable its impact upon neighbouring homes and businesses.
Experience of successfully carrying out works on such constrained sites will be an important consideration in selecting the contractor, and the contractor will required to maintain good communications with close neighbours and others directly affected by their work.
Q. When do you plan to start work on site?
A. Work on the site will begin on 22 August 2016.
Q. How long do you think the work will take?
A. Probably about 15 months. The demolition stage will take 10 weeks, starting on 30 August 2016. This will be followed by a two week archaeological investigation, after which construction will begin.
Q. Are the buildings listed?
A. No, although they are in a Conservation Area. The development neighbours the City Wall and the King’s Gate.
Q. Will the work cause damage to the city wall, or involve archaeological work?
A. The redevelopment is largely in areas previously disturbed by earlier modern construction and so significant impact upon the archaeology is not anticipated.
Indeed, one of the considerations in the proposed design is to lower the building height against the City Wall and so expose more of any wall that may still be there.
Q. Who will be undertaking the work?
A. The College has appointed Kingerlee Ltd to undertake the project. Kingerlee was founded in 1868, and is a family business that has been providing high quality building in and around Oxfordshire for five generations. Its work, in particular for Oxford University, has given it extensive experience of working in and around sensitive and historic buildings.
All the designs shown in the artists’ impressions are provisional and subject to amendment as a result of the consultation and planning approval processes