Consumer habits and retail trends are changing at an unprecedented rate, which poses a lot of challenges for town centres and high streets across the country. Despite these challenges councils across the country are eager to regenerate them and make them thriving community and economic hubs.
East Hampshire District Council is one of those councils and are looking at how they can take a proactive role to shape Whitehill & Bordon’s new town centre - to make it a vibrant, energised, lifestyle destination and not just another shopping centre battling the tide of online retail.
The council is determined to make the town centre a place for everyone by focusing on culture, facilities and leisure opportunities - as well as retail.
The council has worked with partners to deliver a multitude of new exciting facilities already up-and-running in the town including the innovation centre (BASE), the Future Skills Centre, a new secondary school, a relief road and the reinvigorated Hogmoor Inclosure. It has also directly invested in the new state-of-the-art leisure centre which will open next year.
Infrastructure spend is more than £70 million since 2015, an astonishing rate of investment in the community and it continues to exceed the cumulative spend on housing.
The council is now considering building on these successes, by investing directly in the town centre to ensure it meets future trends, is delivered at pace and has the right mix of facilities for existing and new residents.
Options have been explored over the last year and there is now a shortlist of four options which will be considered once business cases have been developed over the next few months.
The options being considered are:
- Investment in a health and wellbeing hub
- To see what options there are for the council-owned Guadaloupe car park (which is located between Chalet Hill and the new town centre) as it is in a key site within the town
- Possibly locating a ‘satellite office’ in the new town centre
- Securing further funding for the town centre to ensure it is future-proofed with more diverse opportunities
“We’re 100 per cent committed to creating something really special here because this whole thing isn’t just about houses and jobs and roads and schools. It’s more than bricks, mortar and bitumen. It’s about people and it’s always been about people.
"For me it’s about heart and soul, opportunity and aspiration for everyone in the town. But above all, way above all else, it’s about hope. Hope for a better future for everyone in Whitehill & Bordon." - Cllr Ferris Cowper, Portfolio Holder for Whitehill & Bordon.