CIVIC chiefs in Winchester have submitted a planning application for a long-awaited regeneration of the area around the city’s railway station

The Station Approach application seeks permission for a “mixed-use development involving the erection of buildings up to five storeys from street level, a lower ground floor level and basement to provide up to 17,972 sqm of offices plus up to 1,896sqm of mixed uses which could include retail, restaurant/cafe, bar and leisure.

The old register office and associated car parking in its basement (up to 135 spaces) would be retained.

Proposals also include a minimum of 156 cycle parking spaces.

The total project is estimated by the Enterprise M3 LEP (local Enterprise Partnership) to cost £159m and provide an £81m boost to the local economy.

The City Council’s Station Approach committee heard last month that, after securing planning permission, a fund will buy a “long leasehold interest” in the site, to which the council would have to pay rent, and after 40 years the property will then revert to city council ownership.

This would mean the council would not be liable for building costs and would not need to be involved in a “potentially complicated construction project”.

However, it would mean the council would have to pay an agreed rent, even if it was not generating income by letting out the office space.

This is the council’s second attempt to redevelop the Carfax site and Station Approach areas after a previous scheme was scuppered in 2016 because it was considered to imposing.

The latest scheme, developed by architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, is estimated to create 1,000 jobs, with around a further 1,000 coming through construction and indirectly linked positions.