PLANS to develop a new retail park in Basingstoke attracting big name brands have been recommended for approval.
Aldi, Nandos, Costa Coffee and Oak Furniture Land could be coming to the former Smiths Industries Aerospace site, on Harrow Way, next to Brighton Hill Retail Park.
Developer Area Estates wants to build a Home Improvement Hub at the site, which it says will create 300 jobs.
The plan was due to go before Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s development control committee last night and officers have recommended councillors approve it.
Speaking before the meeting, Brighton Hill South councillor Andrew McCormick said: “A red line for us would be empty shop units in Brighton Hill, but I’m reasonably happy that’s not going to happen.
“The food offering in Festival Place won’t be impacted much by this, and Oak Furniture Land haven’t got a store in Basingstoke.
“Aldi is very popular and it would be really good to get them in Basingstoke.”
Cllr McCormick said that local residents were split ‘50-50’ on the proposals and 15 letters of objection were received.
Concerns ranged from increased traffic, impact on local businesses and residents, light and noise pollution and over development of the site.
He added: “Yes it’s a good retail mix, yes it’s not going to close down shops in Brighton Hill, yes we’ve got some developer’s contributions that will see cycle paths put down and finally getting use of land that’s been derelict for 20 years.
“However, the negatives are Brighton Hill roundabout, traffic flow on Harrow Way, Winchester Road and that’s part of a bigger issue because this scheme will not generate enough section 106 contributions (money developers have to pay for infrastructure) to fully fund the roundabout.”
He called on Hampshire County Council to stump up the rest of the cash to fund improvements to the Brighton Hill Roundabout.
Duncan McEwan of Fintry Estates Ltd, speaking on behalf of Area Estates, said: “We were delighted with the feedback and the supportive comments received from local residents and stakeholders.
“The level of engagement reflected the interest of the local community in this site.
“If approved our scheme will see… the creation of a Home Improvement Hub and 300 new jobs, as well as significant contributions to highway improvements, predominately for the Brighton Hill Roundabout.”
• To find out how the committee voted, see next week’s Basingstoke Observer.