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Traders put their heads together over Top of The Town improvements
SCRAPPING the one-way system around Basingstoke and building new homes on town centre car parks were among the more ambitious ideas favoured by traders brainstorming how to revamp the Top of The Town.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, alongside town planners Urban Initiatives Studio, hosted a “got you thinking” workshop to table ideas on how to make the Top of The Town a thriving part of the town centre.
Traders were among those invited to the two-hour workshop held at the United Reformed Church, in London Street, last Wednesday.
The suggestions will form part of a report by Urban Initiatives – experts employed by the borough council on how to revamp the area – due to be published later this year.
Turning New Road into a two-way street was one of the most popular suggestions, followed by regenerating the area behind McDonald’s, which is currently the short stay car park of Castons Yard.
It was also suggested that Market Place would benefit from a regular speciality market, and more public events should be held there.
Further ideas included bringing a “destination shop”, such as a Waitrose, to Market Place, and updating pay-and-display machines to pay on exit.
Chas Bradfield, the borough council’s town centre project manager, said the ideas were encouraging.
“We have got a great opportunity here,” he said. “These can’t all happen overnight, but a lot of it is three, five, 10 years’ worth of work.
“Part of this is about what we want this place to be. The place has a lot of strengths – we easily see its weaknesses but it does have a lot of strengths.”
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