Progress with Town Centre Improvements
At a meeting on July 11 officers of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council briefed the Town Centre Improvements Steering Group on progress of the various projects for improving Whitchurch. These were recently given overwhelming support in a town wide, Have Your Say survey . Theseare aimed at helping the economy of the town, small businesses in particular, and developing its role as a tourist destination as well as improving the environment of the town centre.
The group heard that the appointment of a part time Town Centre Improvement Manager (TCIM) - a key post in delivering the improvements - is progressing. Further details will be posted soon on the web and in the Whitchurch Update.
The £123,000 for environmental works in the town centre is being provided by the County and Borough Councils. This is being supplemented by a further £120,000 from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) which will go towards business support, e.business facilities and tourism as well as improving town centre buildings.
Town Centre Environmental Works
Details of improvements have yet to be worked up and costed and may change when costs and legal issues are known. They are expected to include the following:
Town Hall Forecourt
- Replace the existing, riven surface with an "easy to walk on" stone paving - it may be possible to save the current slabs for use elsewhere.
- Raise the pavement to allow disabled users to get better and safer access to the Town Hall, HSBC and Glass-Foolery shop.
- Replace dilapidated street furniture with new seats, bins and cycle racks, new planting containers. Refuse bins will be relocated out of sight, if possible.
- More notice board space, and
a short security fence between the Town Hall and the Beehive Farm Shop.
The Square and Bell Street
- Replace missing granite setts in the centre of the roundabout.
- Tidy up and repaint street furniture, remove unwanted clutter and signage and insert new drop kerbs to assist disabled pedestrians.
- Remove the empty tree grill.
- Replace missing bollards, repaint and straighten existing ones.
Bell Street Car Park and Great Lane
- Tidy up existing planting areas, removing weeds and rogue species with new planting, where necessary.
- Insert new shrub planting where appropriate with wild flower mixes elsewhere.
- Resurface the parking bays - not the central aisles - in a buff material to improve their appearance.
- Mark out bays in the centre of the overflow car park to increase its effective capacity.
- Possibly install a picnic table in the overflow car park green area.
- Tidy up the railings and ramp from Great Lane and resurface the footway.
- Tmprove name plates at the entrance to Great Lane
The recent sale of the old library site for housing will require the relocation of the existing recycling bins in the entrance area. Options for either consolidating the recycling bins in the car park - in an enlarged and better screened location - or relocating them to near to the new community centre are being considered by the Town and Borough Councils. The option for additional lighting in the car park is also being considered.
Design work on the improvements will be commencing soon. There will be consultation with stakeholders through the course of the project. The project team will involve the local community so that the end result delivers what local people want.
Town Centre Improvements Steering Group
The group has been chaired to date by Richard Wareham of B&DBC but this will change at the next meeting and be a Whitchurch Resident. The Steering Group comprises representatives (in aplhabetical order) of :
- Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council
- Hampshire County Council
- Whitchurch Association
- Whitchurch Town Council
- Working 4 Whitchurch