ALDERSHOT now has the opportunity with three major potential development areas to move significantly forward, whilst not forgetting some of its routes as part of another phase of the regeneration strategy.
These three substantial areas for redevelopment need to be carefully considered as to the balance that they need to bring to the overall community.
The first site which has been recently concluded is a 13 acre Wellington Avenue site with the McAlpine group's development given preference by Rushmoor Borough Council. Getting that site finally right will bring tremendous added value to the town.
The second major site which has unexpectedly come on the scene and will have to be carefully looked at is the Boots Warehouse site in North Lane, Aldershot. The loss of 500 jobs in a close-knit community which has lived and served the company for many years will be hard to replace.
However, the Buxted chicken factory in Deadbrook Lane had a similar potential effect on the immediate community but over time opportunities have been consolidated on this small industrial site that replaced it.
However, the Boots Warehouse site is quite substantial and needs to be carefully focused in on. I have already written to Andrew Lloyd, the chief executive of Rushmoor Borough Council, suggesting that Rushmoor, along with Hampshire as the economic leader in strategic terms, should consider the site as mostly high-tech employment with a small element of housing.
However, perhaps the biggest area of potential change is over the military town — that is the central part of Aldershot/North Camp. Some 100 acres of land between Alison's Road, the canal and the town are to be released by the military in the next few years.
This gives Aldershot an incredible opportunity to expand — but there needs to be the right balance of commercial industrial housing and other opportunities responded to. It would also give the opportunity for an educational Early Learning Centre of Excellence for both the military and the town of Aldershot.
More and more discussion over these potential opportunities, having just recently been approved by the Minister of State for consultation as part of Project Connaught/Allenby will exercise thoughts and needs.
I hope the people of Aldershot, Rushmoor and those we need to work with, will now be attracted to these unique opportunities and their need to be managed and focused correctly.
Mike Roberts, Environment Spokesperson, Hampshire County Council.