THE DIRECTOR of Festival Place says there are 'some really exciting things' in the pipeline that he is looking forward to sharing with the Basingstoke public soon.

Neil Churchill was reacting to The Gazette's Basingstoke Deserves Better campaign, which calls on the council and other stakeholders to act to breathe urgent life back into the town centre.

In an exclusive interview with this newspaper, Mr Churchill said: "It’s good to have a publication that is leading something, that is leading change and getting people discussing this point."

Responding to the campaign point, he added: "Well what does Basingstoke deserve, we’ve been in exceptionally challenging times and are rebuilding, and are doing our upmost to do our best for the town and are hoping we can do more.

"We are going to do being that, we are doing that, and I think watch this space.

"We are going to deliver some really exciting things that will help to provide a better place for everyone, and with everyone’s involvement and everyone’s support, we can certainly achieve that.

"We’re making sure that Festival Place can support this initiative and we look forward to talking to you more about all of that in the future."

With the number of empty shops at an all-time high and major retailers leaving the town, along with secret plans to build homes in Festival Place, earlier this year we launched a campaign to say Basingstoke Deserves Better.

In our launch editorial, we wrote: "We are a borough with a population of nearly 180,000, and a thriving town centre is vital for wellbeing and businesses.

"A thriving town centre with a variety of shops and restaurants will bring people into Basingstoke, which boosts the local economy.

"Our campaign calls on the council to act now to breathe life back into the town centre.

"This includes taking action to fill empty shop units and not filling vacant space in the town centre with new homes."