Press Release 21.11.2023

Gillespies and Make reveal plans for Bushfield, a pioneering knowledge and innovation hub in Winchester

Gillespies and Make, on behalf of the Church Commissioners for England, in partnership with Legal & General and Gisborne, have submitted plans to Winchester City Council for a new knowledge and innovation hub on a 43-hectare decommissioned army camp on the Winchester city fringe.

The illustrative masterplan, incorporates a mix of uses across the development, including workspaces, learning and innovation spaces along with a range of supporting amenity uses, which could include retail, cafés and restaurants, a hotel, community and leisure.

The landscape-led masterplan will create more than 26ha of publicly accessible, undeveloped, and green open space for Winchester residents, which will be a valuable addition to the site’s existing ecology and deliver a biodiversity net gain in excess of 10%.

Bushfield occupies a spectacular location overlooking the Itchen River valley, Winchester Cathedral and the Hospital of St Cross and facing St Catherine’s Hill. Great care has been taken in the masterplan to integrate the new buildings into the existing landscape, including the conversion of an arable field with low biodiversity value into a species-rich chalk grassland (a nationally rare habitat), the establishment of new native woodland as well as incorporating green roofs.

The planting could consist of drought-tolerant and pollinator-friendly species, along with the creation of wetlands, retention ponds, rain gardens, and swales to develop new habitats. Furthermore, the masterplan has the potential to open up an extended network of accessible recreational trails improving the permeability of the site, allowing the community to explore the natural landscape on their doorstep.

The development proposals were developed in consultation with the community through a series of engagement events to ensure a lasting legacy for the city.

Sheena Bell, Associate Partner at Gillespies, said: “The masterplan represents an opportunity to improve access and secure the long-term future management of the previously undeveloped parts of the site for recreational use and environmental benefit. In doing so, it will deliver ‘landscape scale’ health and well-being benefits for people and wildlife.”

Joanna Loxton, head of strategic land at the Church Commissioners for England, said: "Bushfield will provide critical employment-led space which will serve Winchester and Hampshire's growing business economy while adding to the diversity of Winchester’s employment offer.

"We expect this purpose-built space will 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."

Ben Rodgers, head of regeneration for Legal & General's Real Assets division, added: "The Church Commissioners for England, Legal & General and Gisborne have worked alongside Winchester City Council to ensure Bushfield delivers both economically and environmentally, in support of the council's declared nature and climate emergency policies.

"With this in mind, we have worked closely with the council throughout the landscape-led masterplan and will continue to do so in support of the recently declared nature emergency. We are committed to presenting a masterplan and application process which delivers for the city, its residents and council."

Images by AVR London. Axo by Gillespies