AN AGREEMENT in principal to advance the redevelopment of Basingstoke Leisure Park is close to completion, despite ‘tremendous’ concerns about its impact.

As previously reported in The Gazette, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) has agreed to work with NewRiver Retail on the £200 million project to create a luxury outlet retail shopping centre, as well as improvements to the aquadrome, but no concrete deal has yet been signed.

BDBC cabinet member for finance, service delivery and improvement councillor Robert Tate gave members of the BDBC community, environment and partnerships committee an update on the progress of the agreement at a meeting on Wednesday, 13 September.

Cllr Tate said: “We are reaching a point where a decision can be made, we are at a point where there are only one or two items left to agree on.

“One of the reasons it has taken a long time because it is a complicated agreement and we are making sure that the longevity and the interests of the residents of Basingstoke and Deane are met.”

If an agreement is made, the revamped site could generate more than 2,400 jobs.

However, committee members said they want cllr Tate to ask for more engagement with the developer before it reaches ‘the point of no return’.

Leader of the Basingstoke Labour group, councillor Paul Harvey, said: “There are still a tremendous number of concerns still arising from this.

“This is an absolutely huge undertaking for us and we need to make sure we have answers to our concerns.

“We have to have some answers, we may not agree with them but at least we have that conversation before we reach that point of no return.

“There are series economic concerns from our partners in the town centre and to date there is nothing which gives them confidence.”

In addressing these concerns, cllr Tate said that BDBC is taking an evidence-based approach to make sure the deal is viable.

Cllr Tate added: “This has a long way to go to building the confidence of the council and the community but I believe it is deliverable.”