Shops are disappearing from our town at an alarming rate. The future of the home of the award-winning Bison ice hockey team hangs in the balance as the once iconic-Camrose football ground is left to rot. Meanwhile, at least 1,500 new homes are being earmarked for the shrinking town centre amid rising complaints about a lack of nightlife and entertainment.

This is why The Gazette is this week launching a campaign calling on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to act now to breathe new life into the town before it is too late.

We are a borough with a population of nearly 180,000 which will only swell over the next decade. A thriving town centre is vital for the health and wellbeing of our community, the local economy and the future generations.

You can read the full editorial in this week's Gazette. Also in the paper:

  • The son of a Basingstoke councillor has denied illegally possessing an antique pistol after being summoned to court following an anti-terror raid. Homes in Rooksdown were evacuated on Thursday during searches carried out by Hampshire Police and Counter Terrorism Policing South East. Simon Tustain, of Penny Black Lane, was charged with possessing a firearm without a certificate.
  • Glasses were raised in celebration as a community marked a milestone moment having bought their village green for £45k, saving it from development. The saga of Broadhurst Grove Village Green, in Lychpit began last year when residents discovered their beloved green space was being auctioned off.
  • ‘Massive concerns’ have been raised about plans to build as many as 1,500 new homes in the town centre.
  • Basingstoke council cannot rule out providing overspill housing for other neighbouring authorities including London, the authority has said. The borough council has a duty to co-operate with neighbouring authorities and as such must “remain open to receiving requests from authorities”.
  • The trust which runs Basingstoke hospital said it is “on course” to deliver a new hospital in the latter half of the decade while the town’s MP has refused to comment on concerns the town may not get a new hospital after all.
  • A mention on the Eurovision Song Contest and a call with Prince William were just some of the triumphs of a Basingstoke vaccination centre which has now closed.
  • A proposal to build more than 100 homes on the edge of Oakley that was refused by councillors last year has been reversed after the developer appealed the decision.
  • “The community now has the school it deserves.” That’s the message from a Basingstoke school after it received a positive Ofsted rating.
  • Also: The latest cases from North Hampshire's Magistrates Courts.
  • The story of Overton's historic sheep fair in the latest installment of our Flashback Thursday feature.
  • Two pages of your letters to the editor, featuring plenty of debate about the future of housing in the town.
  • An eight page puzzle special.
  • A look back on how the town heard of the 9/11 attacks, 20 years on.
  • Two pages of business news.
  • Four pages of the latest sports news from across the region.
  • And much more!

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  • Three pages of entertainment news.