A Vision for Central Basingstoke
The borough’s population is forecast to grow over the coming 20 years from about 157,000 to 177,000, and Basingstoke’s central area will need to continue to adapt and change accordingly. The scale of the potential change created an opportunity for the borough council to work in partnership with local people, businesses, and other public agencies to develop a shared vision that will achieve an even more attractive and successful town centre.
The scope of some of the issues affecting the centre of Basingstoke (e.g. those related to the national/global economy, the future of retailing, etc) extend beyond the council’s remit and control. At the same time, the importance of the town centre cannot be under-estimated and extends well beyond local considerations.
Cities and towns compete with each other across county and regional boundaries, and their town and city centres are vital components in people’s perception of each place. Thus, Basingstoke’s town centre is a crucial element in the wider image of the town and Borough.
The Vision for Central Basingstoke was adopted by the council in December 2007 and sets out an inspirational and exciting vision for the future of the town over the next 20 years or so.
The vision has been produced in response to extensive public consultation, which confirmed that there is a great deal about Basingstoke town centre that is successful and well-liked.
As a shopping destination in particular, Basingstoke punches above its weight and Festival Place has had a significant impact on raising the town centre’s image and offer. However, central Basingstoke is and must be more than its shopping.
There are, and will continue to be, many other attractions on offer across the wider town centre but these must be managed carefully if the central area is also to be a desirable place to live for an increasing number of people.
The council’s Vision builds on Basingstoke’s successful shopping heart by widening the appeal of the town centre to provide a ‘day out experience’.
In order to achieve this, enhancing the vitality, accessibility, character and appearance of the streets, spaces, and areas that lie immediately around and beyond Festival Place will, over the next couple of decades, be just as important as sustaining the success of that shopping centre.
These include established areas - such as Basing View, the Top of Town, The Malls, the Town Parks – as well others - such as around Eastrop roundabout, parts of New Road, lower Church Street - that are less well-defined or developed as distinctive and attractive ‘places’ in terms of both their vitality and appearance.
The Vision seeks to create a well-connected town centre; one where there are easier and more convenient links between its different parts so that there can be greater synergy between the different activities, venues and attractions that are found across the central area.
The Vision for Central Basingstoke augments existing policies to provide the council with a strategic framework, under which its future actions may be evaluated and prioritised. It will also support the council’s adopted strategy on the night-time economy and particularly the need to ensure that increased vitality and accessibility is compatible with town centre living.
A concept plan summarises some of the ways that the council, in partnership with others, could begin to work towards a well-connected town centre for Basingstoke to ensure that it develops fully as a social, cultural, employment, and shopping destination.
If you are interested in or would like further information about the Vision for Central Basingstoke, please do not hesitate to contact us either via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone (01256) 845492 or write to:
The Urban Design Team
Design, Environment and Infrastructure Team
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
Central Area Action Plan
The Central Area Action Plan (adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance in October 2003) shows how the centre of Basingstoke could develop further. Its purpose is to inspire everyone to make a difference by helping to build an attractive, vibrant and accessible central area.
Towns and their central areas continue to need to change and adapt. In the 1960s parts of Basingstoke's central area were redeveloped to provide a new shopping centre, with the streets and Market Place in the Old Town retained and pedestrianised. Separate zones just beyond the town centre were established for offices and leisure activities. New Roads and roundabouts were built to connect traffic between these different zones.
The Action Plan establishes three urban design principles for new developments within the central area. These promote mixing compatible uses within sites and buildings, re-connecting parts of the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists, and enhancing the quality of public spaces and streets.
The draft plan was subject to extensive public consultation during the summer of 2003 and was adopted as supplementary planning guidance in October 2003.
Top of the Town
The area of Basingstoke town centre known as the Top of the Town is a major resource for the town as a whole, both for the businesses and services which is accommodates, and as a reminder of Basingstoke's Heritage. The Top of the Town has a well established character, which distinguishes it from the rest of the town centre. Recent changes and ongoing investment will help ensure that the area remains an attractive, accessible and safe area in which to live, shop, work and spend leisure time. Major changes within the town centre such as the Festival Place development have raised awareness of the importance of maintaining and enhancing the special character of the Top of the Town.
Top of the Town Framework For Action
This Framework sets out a strategy for the area, which builds on the strengths, whilst complementing the modern shopping areas. These are developed into an action plan of practical proposals.
The Top of the Town Framework for Action (above), establishes that:
'The Top of the Town should develop its special appeal as an attractive, lively and accessible area, with specialist and independent retailers, cultural facilities, a strong evening economy and a distinctive character'.
The Streetscape Manual will help realise this by appraising the area. It sets out ideas for coordinating design and choice of materials for the streets, pavements and public spaces. Its aim is to improve the appearance of the area for the benefit of shoppers, visitors and businesses, and encourage economic growth and competitiveness.