BASINGSTOKE’s Top of The Town is set to get a further boost as an ambitious plan to rejuvenate the historic heart of Basingstoke enters its second year.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s bid to breathe new life into the area has already enjoyed a year of economic, environmental and social successes.

At a meeting next Thursday, the council’s decision-making cabinet is set to approve a second year action plan for the Basingstoke Town Centre Programme which is hoped will build on the start it has already made since launching in May 2013.

The document pledges to continue to implement even more initiatives, working with businesses, residents and local organisations.

The introduction of free parking for 30 minutes at the Top of The Town is just one of the measures that were introduced in the first year to encourage more visitors to boost the area’s businesses.

In addition, other activities that have boosted the area include the opening of the Aspiral pop-up shop in Church Street and work between the borough council and property agents and owners in a bid to make empty shops more attractive.

Some of the key improvements proposed in the second year action plan include:

• Evaluation of potential development sites in the town centre.

• Installing new street planters, benches and other street furniture.

• Helping property owners to improve the appearance of their premises through the “Shop Front Grant Scheme”.

• Encouraging more residential development in the town centre.

• Delivering a regular events programme in the Top of The Town.

• Reviewing town centre CCTV coverage.

• Improving pedestrian signage in the town centre.

• Delivering an on-going business support programme for new and existing small businesses in the town.

The borough council’s cabinet member for housing and regeneration Councillor Terri Reid, who is now leading the town centre improvement plan, said: “A great deal of work has taken place successfully over the past year and now, with this momentum, we need to push on.

“This is an exciting time with lots of new initiatives and projects already under way to improve the historic heart of Basingstoke where traders can flourish and visitors can shop, eat, drink, meet friends and be entertained all in one location.

“This second year action plan takes this work forward and proves we mean business at the Top of The Town.”