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Bid to redevelop 'eyesore' gateway site into Fleet

Residents are supporting an application to turn a former Co-op store into a retail unit and four-bedroom house

David Millett outside the derelict former Co-op

Residents are backing a bid to redevelop a boarded-up ‘eyesore’ site that is one of the gateways to Fleet.

London-based FKUP (Fleet) LLP has applied for permission to demolish the former Co-op store in Aldershot Road and replace it with a new retail unit and a four-bedroom house.

A similar application was submitted in the summer but later thrown out by Hart District Council, which ruled the proposed design, architectural style and layout would have created a street scene that was out of keeping with the local character.

The developer has appealed against that decision but has submitted a new application in the meantime.

A number of residents have already written to Hart in support of the scheme.

Emma and Adam Turner, of Pondtail Road, said they were ‘so disappointed’ that the original application was rejected.

“We have lived in this area of Pondtail for many, many years and the site when we moved here was already a convenience store, which for the local residents, many of whom are elderly, was a real asset.

“Today it stands vacant, boarded up and looks completely run down and unsightly. It is also one of the main routes in to Fleet and therefore gives the impression that Fleet is suffering in the recession and not a vibrant town.

“We are so angry that we are not greeting with open arms anyone who wants to redevelop this site and make it both useful and attractive again.”

Fellow Pondtail Road resident Nick Sparrow said: “This part of Fleet really needs something to replace the derelict building which currently makes the gateway to Fleet from Aldershot look like a run down slum. I think most locals who have been waiting for ages for this site to be redeveloped are sick and tired of waiting for a replacement shop which has been sorely missed for some years.”

The latest application has re-sited the proposed house, enhanced the landscaping and improved visibility to the vehicular entrance.

The site also includes RJ Ford and Son’s butchers, who lease the unit but are planning to move to new premises within Fleet.

The rear of the site backs onto the Basingstoke Canal.

David Millett, of the Basingstoke Canal Society, said: “Provided that adequate and sufficient safeguards are included to protect the canal environment and the residents opposite in Velmead Road, then the society has no objection to this proposal.”

Agents for the application, Portsmouth-based PLC Architects, said: “The proposed scheme seeks to improve the relationship with and impact upon the canal and locality, thus significantly enhancing the appearance of the conservation area. The application follows the approved demolition of the existing building, which is of poor quality and includes sub standard accommodation.”

The deadline for comments is Christmas Day – Hart aims to make a decision on the application by January 14.

 

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