Plans to redevelop a boarded-up ‘eyesore’ site that is one of the gateways to Fleet have been approved.
Hart District Council has given London-based FKUP (Fleet) LLP permission to demolish the former Co-op store in Aldershot Road and replace it with a new retail unit, in the form of a convenience store, and a four-bedroom house .
A similar application was submitted last summer but thrown out by the 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 submitted a new application, which re-sited the proposed house, enhanced the landscaping and improved visibility to the vehicular entrance.
Hart officers have approved the latest application subject to a number of conditions, which includes replacing any trees or plants that die or are removed from the site.
The rear of the site, where Co-op closed three years ago, backs on to the Basingstoke Canal.
David Millett, of the Basingstoke Canal Society, said: “We were happy with the application, providing that adequate and sufficient safeguards were included to protect the canal environment and the residents opposite in Velmead Road. I think everyone will be happy with this now.”
A number of residents wrote to Hart in support of the scheme.
Emma and Adam Turner, of Pondtail Road, said: “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.”
Fellow Pondtail Road resident Nick Sparrow said the derelict building made 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,” he added.
The site also includes RJ Ford and Son’s butchers, which leases the unit but are planning to move to new premises within Fleet.
Agents for the applicant, PLC Architects, said the proposed scheme sought 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,” it added.