AN ECONOMIC masterplan for Basingstoke has been drawn up – setting out an ambitious vision for the next 20 years to ensure a thriving future for all those who live and work in the borough.
The masterplan to 2033 outlines major proposals for the future, acting as a ‘shopping list’ of the key improvements that are needed to attract external investment.
The blueprint will be used by the council to attract funding to the area from the Government and the local enterprise partnership Enterprise M3, and to encourage companies to bring new jobs to the borough.
Developed in collaboration with other public service bodies, such as the county council, colleges, the hospital trust, the police and other organisations and businesses, the masterplan aims to be a plan for ‘Basingstoke’ rather than for the council.
The plan outlines a number of potential major projects that would benefit the economic growth of the town and would need funding. These include:
- Area-wide infrastructure improvements to support the economic development of Basingstoke associated with the Manydown housing development, funded by a mixture of Government and developer funding. These could include a new secondary school for Basingstoke, a new country park, and safeguarding the future potential to provide a western by-pass for Basingstoke, potentially linking M3 Junction 7 to the A339.
- Hampshire County Council is currently undertaking detailed work on possible improvements to the A33 corridor, including changes to alleviate congestion at the junctions at Crockford Lane roundabout, Thornhill Way crossroads and Binfields roundabout. There are also plans for a Taylors Farm/Sherfield Park link road. The county council estimates that the works to the junctions would cost around £6million with the link road costing around £1.5m. In the longer term, this could include turning the A33 into a dual carriageway.
- A £5.5m new railway station at Chineham. This would be dependent on new funding coming forward, agreement to relevant timetable changes with Network Rail, and agreement with the train operator (currently First Great Western). The line between Basingstoke and Reading is due to be electrified in the near future which will increase the capacity for stopping stations on this line, acting as an incentive for network operators to serve a new station.
- The council is looking into the feasibil-ity of working with its Basing View development partner Muse to build new developments of ‘ready to move into’ flexible office space to meet demand from both large corporate companies and small and medium businesses.
- A specialist incubation centre is being considered to encourage digital and high tech start-up businesses. Attracting a business class hotel to Basing View by considering the feasibility of using council funding for its development, subject to viability and a suitable operator being interested, is also being considered.
The local enterprise partnership Enter-prise M3 is bidding for Government funding, with Basingstoke proposed to be a key site for investment.
Borough council leader Councillor Clive Sanders said: “There is a real ‘buzz’ about Basingstoke at the moment with lots of exciting things going on.
“This has not happened by accident, but is the result of what the council and key partners have carefully planned.
“It is vital that we now have a clear vision of what our borough could be 20 years from now and how we can build our future success.
“This economic masterplan sets out our stall to compete for investment to keep our borough thriving.
“It shows we have real ambition – that Basingstoke is really going somewhere.
“Working together with our partners, we are driving the borough’s future success, not just hoping that it will happen.”
The masterplan is set to be discussed by councillors on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s economic prosperity and performance overview and scrutiny committee next Wednesday. It can be viewed at basingstoke. gov.uk/go/masterplan.