Residents to have their say on ambitious town centre ideas during drop-in sessions
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is working with HemingwayDesign and Allies and Morrison to develop an ambitious strategy for the town centre area.
Initial ideas as part of the development of a new masterplan for the area include opening up the town centre to make it more accessible, dialling up the town’s entrepreneurial spirit and ensuring the town centre is a vibrant hub during the day and night by creating opportunities for more community and cultural activities and more green spaces.
And with a host of facilities and activities on the doorstep, including shops, parks, community space and transport links, the masterplan principles consider the creation of new high quality and low carbon urban communities for those wanting to live, work and play in a central area.
To ensure the town centre continues to meet residents’ needs and brings valuable jobs to the borough, suggestions include reimagining the existing Malls building to open up the area, creating opportunities for a range of uses in addition to retail including space for community and cultural use, space for entrepreneurs, education and modernising shopfronts at the Top of the Town while celebrating the borough’s rich heritage.
Helping to meet the borough’s challenging climate change targets and encouraging a healthier lifestyle by making the town centre more walkable and cycle-friendly, opportunities being explored include the introduction of new traffic zones, introducing two-way traffic on New Road, creating a new bus interchange at Churchill Way and a new multi-storey car park in New Road.
In addition to the existing town centre green spaces, the vision is to create a ‘greener’ feel through new open spaces in Church Street and in the Top of the Town as well as new planting throughout to improve the area’s biodiversity.
As part of the consultation, which runs until Friday 12 November, drop-in sessions will be held on:
• Monday 25 October between 12.30pm and 2.30pm at the Top of the Town.
• Saturday 30 October between 11.30am and 2.30pm in The Malls Shopping Centre.
Anyone who cannot make it to the drop-in events will still be able to see all the consultation information and have their say at www.talkbasingstoketowncentre.co.uk
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development Cllr Hannah Golding said: “It is vital that we develop a long-term vision to deliver our aspirations of ensuring our town centre is a top shopping, leisure and cultural destination that attracts people to the area during the day and at night. Although these aren’t proposals, the bold ideas aim to kickstart a debate about how we can ensure the town centre has a vibrant future.
“Residents, businesses and visitors are at the heart of these plans and will play a vital role in the town centre’s success. We received lots of great feedback on what people would like to see in the town centre earlier this year and we now want to know if the draft vision and masterplan principles help bring these suggestions to life.”
Following the latest consultation, HemingwayDesign and Allies and Morrison will finalise their proposals, including technical testing and feasibility work, publishing a final vision and masterplan later in the year. A decision on whether to adopt a new strategy for the town centre will be taken by councillors in spring 2022.