Consultation has begun over long-term future of Basingstoke town centre.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has appointed a team including HemingwayDesign, Allies and Morrison and JLL, to help develop a strategy for the town centre area.

The council wants to create a vision and masterplan and work over the next six months will involve engagement with residents, businesses and other groups to produce a detailed analysis of the town’s requirements and aspirations.

Council leader Cllr Ken Rhatigan said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our lives and as we plan for the borough’s economic recovery, it is important that look at how we can ensure our town centre remains a top shopping and leisure destination that attracts people to the area.

“We have lots to be positive about and it will be important for us to build upon our key strengths, including heritage, our mix of retailers and strong arts and culture offer, while addressing issues such as connectivity, how we incorporate our town centre parks and sustainable travel.

“We cannot do this alone and I would encourage everyone to share their feedback as it will be important for us to understand how we can improve our offer to help shape our final strategy and ensure the town centre responds to changing customer expectations in the future.”

Wayne Hemingway from HemingwayDesign said: “All of us know how town centres have been facing a multitude of challenges resulting from a change in our shopping habits and spending preferences.

“Covid-19 has accelerated this and progressive towns and cities are soul searching, and making plans and taking actions to ensure that they purposefully enter these changing times and positively embrace these societal shifts to become places that have something for all residents, businesses and visitors whether it be places to shop, socialise, enjoy leisure facilities, live or work.

“We urge all of you to have your say, after all it’s you who are driving these changes so tell us what you want from the future of your town centre, and what you want to do and see there.

A survey is online at until March 19.

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