Plans for the future of Farnborough are up for debate one last time before the borough council seeks to make its new guidelines official.
The council is holding a public consultation exercise, which began on Friday last week and will finish on Friday July 21.
The plan says that Farnborough town centre currently has a ‘reasonable’ range of shops and a ‘good selection’ of food stores. However, the proportion of restaurants and cafés is ‘significantly’ below the national average while fast-food outlets, takeaways, banks and other financial services are ‘significantly’ above.
The plan’s priorities for the town centre are to ‘develop a more attractive retail core’ by reducing the number of vacant units in Kingsmead, attracting more family restaurants and cafés and expanding the evening and leisure economy.
'Enhanced green space'
It seeks to improve accessibility by providing better connections between the town centre and the railway station, edge-of-town stores, Farnborough Business Park and nearby residential areas.
The plan identifies Farnborough Civic Quarter (between the town centre and the council offices) as having a ‘significant opportunity for development that integrates with the town centre’.
It proposes an ‘enhanced central green space’ and improved community facilities for this area, as well as ‘active ground floor uses’ and the development of around 700 homes including affordable housing with improved pedestrian and cycle links. It also envisages ‘focal gateway buildings’ on Sulzers and Pinehurst roundabouts.
The plan for North Camp is to promote development that ‘enhances the vitality and viability of the centre by preserving its local and specialist retail functions and vibrant evening economy’.
Development proposals in North Camp should demonstrate that they improve accessibility, particularly by improving links for cyclists and pedestrians, the plan states.
The plan also supports the development of offices outside the town centre, describing Farnborough as part of ‘science and technology corridor’ which is an ‘economic asset of national importance’.
Among the other topics covered by the plan are housing needs, employment sites, open spaces, military and aviation heritage and future operations at Farnborough Airport. At the end of the consultation, the council will compile all the comments received and send them to the Planning Inspectorate along with the draft plan.
Anyone objecting to the plan will be invited to appear before a planning inspector at a public hearing, which is likely to take place early in 2018.
If the inspector finds that the Rushmoor Local Plan is legally compliant, the council can adopt the plan and use it to guide development and regeneration in the area and to help make decisions on planning applications.
Councillor Martin Tennant, RBC’s cabinet member for service delivery, said: “The local plan is the blueprint for development in Rush-moor up to 2032. I believe this final draft version provides a sound basis for future development.”
To see the draft plan, go to www.rushmoor.gov.uk/newlocalplan. Hard copies are available at RBC’s offices in Farnborough and at Aldershot and Farnborough libraries.
Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by letter to the planning policy and conservation team at the council offices.