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Taking Place in history
11:36am Thursday 25th October 2012 in Letters
To the many people who have arrived in the town to live and work here over the past 10 years, they probably do not realise that the town centre was originally in the Winchester Street/London Street area, with shops also in Wote Street, Church Street, and a road between them called Potters Lane.
The lower part of the town, where Churchill Way is now, had shops in Brook Street, named after the River Loddon, which use to run through that part of the town.
Then, in 1966 to 1968, the Town Development Scheme of 1961 brought about the demolition of the old buildings in the lower part of the town centre and in November 1968, the first phase of a modernstyle shopping centre was opened.
For the many people whose businesses, including some 20 public houses, were destroyed, they had to find alternative premises or retire. Some people moved away to Dorset, Devon, and other counties, even though they were offered alternative accommodation or premises. (The development spread out to the countryside later.) As a local historian, I have kept a complete record of the events leading up to, and during, the upheaval that Basingstoke had to endure, and since then the six different books that I had published about the town tell the story of those events.
These are available to the public in the local libraries.
I hope that your readers will realise that those events of the past has brought them the Basingstoke of the present.
From a population of 25,000 in 1961, the town now has 167,000 – an increase which needed the present town centre of today.
–Robert Brown, Doswell Way, South View, Basingstoke.