A scheme worth millions of pounds will ‘transform’ Aldershot town centre, but this is just one piece of the jigsaw to give the town a facelift.
Rushmoor Borough Council’s cabinet has approved spending £4.5 million on revamping the main shopping areas.
It is also proposing to create an amphitheatre staircase leading from the high street car park to the town centre, closing Barrack Road to traffic, widening pavements, adding trees and street art and improving pedestrian links with the Project Wellesley site.
Local enterprise partnership Enterprise M3 has granted £3 million to the scheme, with an additional £1.5 million from the council.
Wellesley project manager Grainger will pay back £3 million in instalments as its 3,850 planned homes are sold.
Grainger’s development director John Beresford said the work was ‘one element of a much wider strategy’ and tens of thousands of pounds were earmarked to revamp several areas of Aldershot, including the railway station approach and the junction at the bottom of Hospital Hill.
“We wanted to do these things up front and early and get Aldershot spick and span,” he said. “Making it an attractive place for people to want to live is very important.
“Giving Aldershot a new lick of paint was low down on our priority list to use resources for, but what this does is gets that work done and we pay it back on the drip. This is a series of different events that will be transforming Aldershot.”
If more detailed plans are approved this autumn, the first two phases, involving restoration of key buildings, re-paving Union Street and Wellington Street and adding new street furniture and lighting, will begin next year and completed by next summer.
Subsequent phases will see signage improved to encourage people to visit different parts of town, a new footway link between the upper decks of the High Street car park and Court Road, and Grosvenor Road becoming a single lane to allow easier crossing.
Council leader Peter Moyle said: “We understand the issues facing Aldershot and see this phased approach as the next part of Aldershot’s regeneration.”
A more immediate addition to the town centre is Hampshire’s first Poundworld shop, due to open in Wellington Street next Thursday. It replaces a furnishings shop that has moved into part of the former Next in Union Street.
Fellow discount shop B&M Bargains’ plans to open in The Arcade were announced last December but a spokesman said this week a launch date was unconfirmed.
Work to create the new slip road onto the A331 comes thanks to a similar advanced funding agreement of around £10 million with the Local Infrastructure Fund. The work, which will include widening of Government Road, was previously not expected to start until around 2023 but is now likely to get under way next year.
The town centre plans will be displayed in the Princes Hall and the Wellington Centre from August 4 and in Morrisons in Westgate and Aldershot Pools from August 15 until the end of the month.