THE Basingstoke market will move back to Market Place tomorrow following the completion of a £280,000 scheme to improve its home in the town’s historic heart.
Repaving work has been carried out by Hampshire County Council as part of their Operation Resilience programme and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s wider improvement of the Top of The Town area.
In October 2013, traders were relocated to the bottom of Wote Street, between Debenhams and Central Car Park, while Market Place underwent a major renovation which saw old paving taken up and replaced with new slabs.
The improvement project, which has finished just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend, aims to ensure that the surface remains in a good condition for longer and the Top of The Town becomes a more attractive destination for shopping and tourism.
Town centre project manager at the borough council, Chas Bradfield said: “Whilst the improvement works at Market Place have taken a little longer than anticipated, I hope everyone agrees that the end result has been well worth the wait.
“The Town Centre Programme is now starting to take shape. Basingstoke now has a much improved market square providing an exciting, vibrant and interesting area for residents and visitors to enjoy. Thank you to everyone for bearing with us while these essential improvements were carried out.”
Councillor Seán Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment at Hampshire County Council said: “I’m pleased that work at Market Place is complete. Some weather related issues had delayed the progress for a short period but it is now finished.
“On behalf of the county council, I would like to thank businesses, residents and visitors for their patience while these works were carried out and hope that the new improved square will have a positive impact on the town centre.”
With the market returning to Market Place, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is now working to improve the overall offer by appointing a specialist market operator.
Talks also continue with Hampshire Farmer's Market to bring them back to the town.
For more information on Basingstoke’s market visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/go/marketrepave.