BASINGSTOKE council has unanimously agreed plans to spend £300,000 to refurbish and replace lifts in the town centre.

The five lifts at The Malls shopping centre next to the Anvil were the subject of an urgent report at a full council meeting last week, after visitors complained of 34 breakdowns in the past year.

The paper warned that the unreliable lifts would affect the access to the shops and the car parks, and would "likely result in a decline in shopper numbers and a decrease in revenue, also making access to the Anvil theatre less attractive".

It also revealed that the lifts have broken down 56 times in the past two years - roughly once every other week and costing a total of £68,000.

Speaking at the meeting on Thursday, July 15, cabinet member for economic development Cllr Hannah Golding said: “The Malls are a key part of our town centre and it's therefore vital that the council support it to regain its vibrancy as part of our Covid recovery.

“Sometimes purely practical action is needed to improve the experience for customers.”

She added that by investing £300,000 to replace the lifts by the Anvil and refurbish the others, the option of larger capacity lifts will be available, adding: “The Anvil lifts are not robust enough for the volume of people using them.”

The motion was seconded by Cllr Stuart Frost (Conservative, Tadley North, Kingsclere & Baughurst) and unanimously passed by members, with Cllr Gavin James (Lib Dem, Eastrop & Grove) quipping: “I will support this. The performance of the lifts has been very up and down in recent years!”