More HCC archives research, this time a recording of the Dispatches episode ‘The Battle of Twyford Down‘. Summarised the political turmoil Winchester was experiencing at the time as the public wrestled with the government and the options presented to them.
Many thought the route through the Twyford Downs was the worst option, presumably because the existing bypass already went around St Catherine’s Hill so they couldn’t forsee what the city would be like if it was re-connected with this part of the landscape? Funnily enough Winchester College was gifted Twyford Downs by a former student in the hope that it would be safeguarded from any future construction work forever! The college obviously saw no better option, plus were likely paid handsomly.
The tunnel was the best option but by far the most expensive and seems it came along too late in the day?
Either way seems the city is better off for having a cutting through the downs instead of over the water-meadows or skirting the bottom of St Catherine’s. Perhaps there is an opportunity in the master plan to place natural bridges over the motorway to re-link this green finger of the city with countryside to the east?
The route through the downs also went through an ancient monument and site of archeological importance too hence further reason for its unpopularity. Although planning wrote about this as a positive as it gave them cause to dig it up and find out what was going on there, regardless of its protection.