A stalled town centre development site is set to be acquired by the local authority so it can complete the regeneration.

Rushmoor Borough Council’s cabinet meets on Tuesday, February 7 to decide whether to follow an officers’ recommendation to acquire The Meads and Kingsmead in Farnborough where the second phase of a redevelopment stopped during lockdown and never restarted.

Developer Key Property Investments (KPI), part of St Modwen, completed the first phase – The Meads – in 2009 and made further improvements in 2015.

KPI began developing the second phase in 2019 but stopped in 2020. Now, following the acquisition of St Modwen by Blackstone, the developer is seeking to pull out and the council is preparing to buy the entire 3.8-hectare site (with a combined internal area of 334,489 sq ft including the 1970s Kingsmead shopping centre) and deliver a new scheme to replace the proposed second phase of KPI’s scheme.

The first phase (the Meads) delivered eight retail units, a pizza restaurant, a gym and play centre, Sainsbury’s supermarket, Travelodge, Wetherspoon pub, 70 flats and a car park.

The second phase is in two separate sites. One has permission for eight retail units, 104 flats and a link bridge to The Meads while the other has permission for a further eight retail units and either offices or flats above. The second phase could also include new public realm.

But the report to the February 7 meeting notes that scheme is no longer viable and a new one will be planned as part of a wider town centre regeneration.

The report states: “Acquisition, along with its other land ownership, would give the council control of a large area of Farnborough town centre and allow the delivery of a wider town centre masterplan aligned to the Civic Quarter masterplan to deliver a coherent town centre offer.

“This has been strengthened by the recent acquisition of Princes Mead shopping centre by Sovereign Housing which creates an opportunity to work together to deliver a joined-up local plan for Farnborough.

“Lack of investment and stalled regeneration have meant that the town centre offer has deteriorated in recent years.

“Without intervention, it is likely that the site would remain in its current position with a vacant, hoarded site, no development, continued town centre disruption and lack of regeneration.”

The acquisition is likely to be completed in April.

Image (Google) shows one of the sites where redevelopment stalled in 2020.

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