Winchester and its setting

 

Introduction

 

View of Winchester looking west by Robson, 1827

 

A very important component of the character of the City is its landscape setting. In this booklet the two Trusts explain why this is so. The City of Winchester Trust was set up in 1957. The aim of the Trust is to preserve the distinctive and evolving character of the City, by seeking to influence the decisions of the City and County Councils, the South Downs National Park Authority and the proposals of developers.

 

The Hampshire Gardens Trust was founded in 1985 and its aim is to conserve, protect and enhance the rich heritage of historic parks, gardens and green spaces in the county, the unique setting of the city of Winchester is therefore of importance to the Trust.

 

‘We removed to Winchester for the convenience of a Library, and find it an exceeding pleasant Town, enriched with a beautiful Cathedral and surrounded by a fresh looking country….The whole Town is beautifully wooded – From the Hill at the eastern extremity you see a prospect of Streets, and the Buildings mixed up with Trees – Then there are the most beautiful streams about I ever saw – full of Trout.’ So wrote John Keats in 1819 when the population of Winchester was about 17,000.

 

Nearly 200 years later, this description of the City is still very recognisable, even when it has developed suburbs and has a population of 42,000. The valued historic, architectural and landscape character of Winchester has been recognised in planning terms by a number of designations, whose purpose is to conserve and enhance. These designations are shown on the map on the previous page.

 

This booklet highlights the importance of these protected areas in maintaining the valued setting of the City when viewed both from within and without. It also highlights where the character of the City is vulnerable to possible development, where no protection exists at present.

 

Whether protected or not, the two Trusts, believe that continual vigilance needs to be exercised by all involved in the future development of Winchester, be they planning applicants, planning officers or members of planning committees charged with decisions, to ensure that Winchester continues to be 'an exceedingly pleasant Town’. To that end this booklet offers awareness and guidance, on the importance of conserving and maintaining the valued landscape setting of the City.