OPEN LETTER TO WINCHESTER CITY COUNCIL
Open space, greenery, nature and wildlife are of vital importance to human health and happiness. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown this into sharp relief. During the UK lockdowns, parks, recreation grounds, nature reserves and other green areas provided some respite from confinement. Since then, open spaces have offered the principal means of spending time with family and friends while maintaining “social distance”. Yet, the post-COVID recovery could threaten these very spaces, with the government’s emphasis on “build build build” yielding new housing targets and planning laws that will make development far easier.
The city of Winchester is surrounded by beautiful countryside, some of it protected through designation as national park or nature reserve or “site of special scientific interest”. Within the city’s settlement boundary, however, the publicly accessible open spaces are fairly small and only a few have limited forms of protection. Several sites listed in the 2016 Local Plan Open Space Strategy have since been developed (e.g. The Valley), as have some areas designated as “locally listed historic parks and gardens” (e.g. Pitt Manor).
The city’s main public sports pitches and recreation grounds sit just outside the settlement boundary. They have remained relatively unthreatened while designated as “countryside”. However, only two sets of playing fields, King George V in Highcliffe and the neighbouring Garrison Ground, are legally protected with Fields In Trust. Community mobilisation has been essential to the process of getting these areas properly protected.
Similar efforts to protect other key areas of recreational open space in and around the city should be considered NOW, in light of the proposed new planning laws. Sites within or just outside the current settlement boundary are particularly vulnerable to development pressure. In addition to long-term protection, some sites could be enhanced through biodiversity management, whereas others would benefit from new recreational facilities or other measures to support public access and use.
 10 Downing Street (2020) ‘Build build build’: Prime Minister announces New Deal for Britain press release, 30 June 2020, link
 Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (2020) Planning for the future consultation, 6 August 2020, link
We are asking Winchester City Council to extend legal protection to all public recreation grounds, sports pitches and parks across the city of Winchester. As a priority, Fields In Trust designation should be sought now for the following open spaces:
North Walls Recreation Ground (including Devil's Island)
Stanmore Recreation Ground
St Matthew’s Field, Weeke
Chilcomb sports ground
St Giles Hill
Winchester SALT has set up a new local network for those involved in community sport in the Winchester area: the Winchester Community Sport Alliance.
The aim of the Winchester Community Sport Alliance is to:
- help the community sport sector to engage in the development of new or improved sport and recreational facilities in Winchester
- help community sport sector organisations to share information and resources, including through the Winchester ClubHub
- help community sport sector organisations to get involved in local events, including the annual Children of Winchester Festival (COWfest)
By "community sport sector organisations" we mean the local clubs, charities and small enterprises that provide sporting opportunities to people in the city of Winchester and surrounding area. Any such organisation can join the Alliance, as can individual supporters of the sector.
Please check the relevant box to let us know whether you are a sports club, sports enterprise, charity or individual when you sign up – and please let us know the name of your organisation, or if you're signing up as an individual then please tell us which city/town/village you live in. Thank you!
You can expect to receive occasional newsletters, updating you on key developments in the community sport sector and outlining opportunities for you to engage. Of course, if you no longer want to stay in touch, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Winchester SALT takes your privacy seriously. We will only contact you using NationBuilder if you have given us permission to do so, and you can opt out at any time. Please contact us if you wish to access, rectify, or erase the information we hold about you on this site, by emailing [email protected]
Steven Pease posted about Tesco Open Letter on Facebook 2016-01-18 21:16:19 +0000Sign the petition: Tesco PLC: Give Winchester a Sporting Chance
This campaign was successful!
Further to the Open Letter and discussions with Tesco PLC, the company agreed to sell the Garrison Ground to Winchester City Council in December 2016. The council then committed to safeguard it for sport and leisure use, and has developed an 'urban design framework' that incorporates the Garrison Ground into a Winchester Sport and Leisure Park with sports pitches and play areas alongside new indoor facilities.
We have fed into the consultation process for the park, and encouraged Winchester City Council to protect all remaining playing fields at Bar End with Fields In Trust. THEY HAVE NOW AGREED TO DO SO! (as of early 2020)
Thank you to all who supported these efforts!
FAO: John Allan, Non-executive Chairman, and Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive, Tesco PLC735 signatures
We write as concerned residents of Winchester in Hampshire, to ask for your support.
As you may know, Tesco PLC owns land at Bar End, Winchester, which is on your asset disposal list. This land was put forward for housing development – presumably by Tesco PLC – via the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) for Winchester's Local Plan.
Tesco PLC's land at Bar End, known as The Garrison Ground, is a prime sport and recreational venue for our community. It is home to the Winchester City Flyers women's and girls' football club and the Winchester and District Girls Football League, as well as to Winchester Amateur Boxing Club. It supports grass training for the Winchester and District Athletics Club, and every year hosts events ranging from Cancer Research UK's 'Race for Life' to the local Fun Fair. It's also an important venue for kickabout football, informal play, and dog walking.
The ongoing use of the Garrison Ground for sport and recreation is essential to our community. The City of Winchester has a shortfall in sports grounds of more than 11 hectares, and desperately needs new publicly accessible swimming pools, sports halls and synthetic turf pitches, to meet the requirements of a growing population and in particular increasing numbers of children and young people. Certain facilities – such as those for gymnastics – are completely absent from the local area. Bar End is the best place for any new facilities, but we will need to retain as much open space as possible there too.
In short – we cannot afford to lose the Garrison Ground to housebuilding or to any other non-sports related development.
Please will Tesco PLC work with us, the residents of Winchester, to protect the Garrison Ground and to develop a community sport and recreational hub at Bar End?
Your land could make all the difference to the future of our City and District. Please give us, and our children, a sporting chance.
To all signatories: you can sign with your name and email address (or phone number if preferred). Upon signing, you will receive a thank you email, which includes an option to unsubscribe from further updates. Thank you for your support!
The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics inspired our community. We saw the power of sport – to bring people together, keep them healthy and active, reaching for their goals.
Winchester is one of the most active areas of the UK. But our public sports facilities are really limited. We need facilities that offer everyone a chance to take part in sport, whether for fun, fitness, training or competition.
So we set ourselves 2012 hours to make a difference, to secure the future of sport in Winchester – and build our Olympic legacy! Between midnight on 27th July 2014 – the two-year anniversary of the London 2012 opening ceremony – and 8pm on 19th October 2014, we aimed to raise awareness of the issues as well as a significant community contribution to the funds needed to build Winchester's new sports facilities.
The goal was to ensure the right facilities are built in the right place, and in the right way – involving our community.
Our research indicated that these indoor facilities would meet the needs of our area, now and in the future:
- A 50m community pool that can be divided into different sections and varied in depth – swimming is by far the most popular activity here! WE HAVE SECURED THIS FACILITY, WHICH IS NOW PART OF THE WINCHESTER SPORT AND LEISURE PARK AT BAR END
- A gymnastics and trampolining facility – hundreds of local children enjoy these sports AND NOW TREASURE GYMNASTICS HAS CREATED A WINCHESTER GYMNASTICS CENTRE IN WINNALL
- A large sportshall – we're desperately short of indoor courts for netball, basketball and other sports ALTHOUGH THE NEW COURTS AT THE WINCHESTER SPORT AND LEISURE PARK AND AT WINCHESTER COLLEGE ARE BETTER THAN THOSE THEY REPLACED
- An indoor athletics training area and spectator seating for our athletics track WHICH IS STILL PENDING
The 2012 hours website itself has now been archived, but if you'd like to take a look you can find it at http://2012hours.weebly.com.
Winchester SALT is a small local registered charity, which is operated on a very limited budget. Our team are all volunteers. We cover our limited running costs – largely related to the use of IT – through project funding where this is appropriate, topped up with unrestricted donations, including those generated by use of the Easyfundraising platform.
How does Easyfundraising work? When you shop by clicking through from the Easyfundraising directory of online shops, they make a small donation to Winchester SALT – and this will cost you absolutely nothing! The cost of anything you buy is exactly the same as if you'd gone directly to the shop's website!
AND, if you join Easyfundraising using our referral link, they will MATCH the first £5 you raise over the course of the next year!
Please join now, to help us as you shop online – it would make such a huge difference to us.