The largest planning application ever considered in Rushmoor was unanimously approved on Thursday night (July 4).

Councillors met for a special development control committee meeting in the Rushmoor Borough Council offices to vote through the Aldershot Urban Extension (AUE), also known as Project Wellesley, and work on the first homes could begin early next year.

Around 20 members of the public attended to witness the moment, as representatives of development partner Grainger spoke of their vision for the town's development over the next 15 years.

The plans will see the creation of up to 3,850 new homes, around 1,400 of which will be affordable, and facilities to the north of the town centre.

The plans by the Ministry of Defence and Grainger will also see some of the town’s historic military buildings, including the Cambridge Military Hospital and Headquarters 4th Division, brought back into use as homes and community facilities.

Two new primary schools , a slip road onto the A331 and play areas will also be provided.

The committee gave outline planning permission for a masterplan for the 154-hectare site and associated green space of 110 hectares on the southern part of the former military town, subject to conditions a legal agreement.

Committee chairman Councillor Gareth Lyon said: "This is great news for Rushmoor. The development represents a huge investment in our borough, bringing more people to Rushmoor, providing much-needed new homes, new jobs and a welcome boost to the local economy.

"It is a powerful statement of the ambition of our borough – to be the best place to live and do business in the South East."

Council leader Peter Moyle added: "I’m really excited about this development and the benefits it will bring to the town and the borough.

"With the regeneration initiatives like Westgate already in place and more planned, this really is Aldershot’s time – the town will be the place to invest in over the coming years."

For more on what the approval will mean for Aldershot, see next week's News & Mail , out on July 11.