BASINGSTOKE residents have expressed their concerns at the news that flats could be built on the town's major shopping centre.

Last week, the Gazette exclusively revealed that secret meetings were being held between the council and Festival Place bosses about the possibility of turning parts of the centre into additional town centre housing.

In a site selection report prepared for the upcoming meeting of the Economic, Planning and Housing Committee meeting on Thursday, September 2, Festival Place was listed as not being “considered in the site assessment process as the principle of development already considered acceptable”.

The report added that Festival Place is “being considered through the town centre work currently being conducted by the council”.

However, the Gazette’s report of the plans was met with largely negative reaction from residents.

One website reader wrote: “Soon we will not have a shopping centre!!! How about looking into increasing the amount of doctors surgeries, schools, things to do and not just be a place that we just work and sleep in!”

Another added: “Is there not an irony in a Shopping Centre built on top of demolished homes of the 60s, returning to housing?”

Others took to social media to express their views.

Linda Hammond said: “What’s the point in having a town and no good shops?”.

Stu Warren added: “Who in their right mind wants to live in a shopping centre?”

However, some people disagreed with the masses, and backed the proposal of flats.

One reader commented: “This initiative is born from just facing the realities of supply and demand.”