AFTER YEARS of controversy followed by anticipation and excitement, the much-discussed Village Hotel has finally opened in Basing View.

The 153-bedroom hotel was officially opened on Monday morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by the Mayor, a senior councillor and Enterprise M3.

The ‘black box’ hotel was initially opposed by Basingstoke Sports Centre, who said that the hotel’s plans to incorporate a gym and swimming pool would deprive them of customers.

However, the proposals for the plan was narrowly voted through by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in May 2018, paving the way to its development in the heart of Basing View.

The hotel has plans to implement itself at the heart of the community, according to general manager Nalin Daud.

“This has been four years or so since they set their sights on the site,” he told the Gazette. "Everybody involved has been fantastic.”

Meanwhile, Linda Cheung, of Enterprise M3, said: “I am really pleased to see this new addition. It’s great to be welcoming Village Hotels to the area.

“Today is part of the continued long-term investment into our three zones in partnership with the local authorities.”

Cllr John Izett, cabinet member for regeneration and property at the council, said he was pleased grand opening day was here, adding: “It feels very good.

“It is a bit of a red letter day for Basingstoke and Basing View. It is very good looking building and it is good to see it humming with life and it will be good to see it continue.”

Cllr Izett added that this is part of what the people and businesses in Basing View wanted.

In recent months, multiple businesses have appeared in Basing View, with a number of buildings being refurbished.

Cllr Izett, whose portfolio contains responsibility for the Basing View project, says that this will continue with the refurbishment of Mountbatten House his next priority.

And it’s the regeneration and new businesses in the area, and the tech-focused approach which it brings, that Ms Cheung says sets Basing View apart.

She says £8 million from the Local Enterprise Partnership has gone into the regeneration of Basing View, and £1.65 million into Village Hotel.

"It is about providing funding to accelerate the development.

"It is amazing to think about what we can do. Basing View is on of the most connected area in the South East. It is an hour to London and an hour to the beach, it is a fantastic mix.

As well as the 153 bedrooms, the business-class hotel features a 25 metre swimming pool, gym facilities that host over 400 classes a month, a pub and grill and Starbucks open to the public as well as guests, and VWorks, a co-working space.

You can see exclusive photos from today's grand opening on page XX.