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New retail park to replace offices in Farnborough

Developers hope to convert offices at a site in Farnborough into five retail units with parking for more than 200 cars

PC World at Westmead, Farnborough
PC World at Westmead, Farnborough

A new retail park – described as the town’s missing link – is set to be built at one of the key sites in Farnborough.

A scheme to turn offices into retail units was recommended to be approved by councillors at a planning meeting last week.

The application was submitted to Rushmoor Borough Council in December to demolish the Pyramid House, Jolen House and Oaklands House offices, along with the PC World store in Westmead, and replace them with two new retail buildings.

The buildings, which will have mezzanine floors, would be divided into five units and there would be a new parking area big enough for 225 cars.

Planning permission had been granted in 2012 to redevelop the offices and construct a new retail warehouse and a separate application to refurbish the PC World building was approved, involving modernising the building.

However, applicant Fairacre Asset Management now wishes to incorporate the PC World building into the redevelopment scheme, as a new PC World has opened within Currys in the Farnborough Gate Retail Park, and the Westmead store could be made vacant.

The site is surrounded by retail and leisure buildings, including the Princes Mead shopping centre, Asda, Solartron Retail Park and the B&Q store.

Councillor Gareth Lyon, chairman of the development control committee, said: "If it's done right it will be a tremendous development."

A report from the applicant says it believes the development will “create the missing link between the retail parks to the west and the rest of the town centre to the east”.

It is not yet known which retailers will occupy the new units, however, Chris Akrill, of Town Planning Services, the agent for the applicant, said the proposal has received a lot of interest from businesses – particularly home and furniture retailers that would complement shops already in the town.

A spokesman for Fairacre Asset Management said: “We are pleased with the council’s recommendation to approve the application, having worked diligently with them for a number of months to come up with a suitable scheme for the site.

“We hope the planning committee members will support the recommendation and grant approval for the redevelopment of this important gateway into Farnborough town centre.

Speaking at the meeting, held on March 5, Councillor Clive Grattan, representing the Cherrywood ward for the council, said: "I think it's going to be an improvement to the area."

Councillor Alan Chainey, representing the Cove and Southwood ward for the council, added: "I have a small concern because at the weekend trying to manoeuvre in and out of the traffic down there is impossible. It is just chock-a-block, you can't move down there.

"I have no objections to the site whatsoever but trying to get out is just impossible."

 
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