East Hampshire District Council is seizing an opportunity to explore how it 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 “real game changer” that offers something for everyone by focusing on culture, facilities and leisure opportunities - as well as retail.
The district 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 and the reinvigorated Hogmoor Inclosure.
It has also directly invested in the new state-of-the-art leisure centre which will open next year.
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
Cllr Ferris Cowper, Portfolio Holder for Whitehill & Bordon, said: “Delivering a new town centre is no mean feat and consumer habits and retail trends are changing at an unprecedented rate.
“Shopping centres as we know them are declining fast and we need to ensure that Whitehill & Bordon has a thriving, prosperous heart, bursting with leisure and recreation opportunities for our existing and future residents.
“The new town centre will be truly transformational for Whitehill & Bordon, the surrounding area and the wider district. It will be an absolute game-changer for how we see town centres.
“Whitehill & Bordon’s new town centre is going to be all about lifestyle – we're striving to create something really special where you’d want to go to meet friends, enjoy spending time outdoors and take in the latest culture - all within striking distance of your front door.
"It will be a centre for everyone - from every walk of life, social background and stage of development. Young or old, retired, working or in education, Whitehill & Bordon is the town that will have it all.
“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.
"We know that many families have lived in the town through multiple generations. With these proposals and after decades of under investment, this new, vital piece of the jigsaw will not just make it a town that you thrive in, but also one in which your children will prosper and your grandchildren will grow and develop as the town continues to succeed.
"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."