AN AFFORDABLE homes provider has revealed its plans for regenerating an area of Basingstoke to include 206 new homes, a pre-school, and health centre.

Vivid is preparing to submit a planning application to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in the new year which will see various areas of Winklebury transformed to deliver much-needed affordable homes and bring long-term improvements to the area.

The housing association wants to regenerate four different areas of Winklebury – the former Fort Hill School, the Winklebury Centre, Newman Bassett, Carrisbrooke Close, and the Play Council site.

The plans, which Vivid has shared with the Gazette, will include a mixture of homes, with 120 one and two-bed flats, four three-bed flats, five two-bed bungalows, 31 two-bed houses, and four four-bed houses.

Forty per cent of these are set to be affordable homes, offering a mixture of social housing, affordable rent, and shared ownership.

The proposals also include providing a new health facility to house a GP surgery, new retail units with a public square, 4.5 hectares of new open space on the former Fort Hill School playing fields, a new pre-school building, and a fort themed children’s play park with new equipment.

Rebecca Younghunsband, corporate communications manager at Vivid, said: “There has been affordability issues in the area particularly for family sized homes. What makes us different is we don’t believe in building a home and squeezing it in.

"We work with the local authorities to see what homes are needed so we can build something to meet the aspirations of the community. We have got something we are really excited about for Winklebury.”

Lee Drennan, from KSR Architects which has partnered with Vivid on the project, told the Gazette the plans have taken a long time to come to fruition, explaining: “We have taken a few years to get it right and that’s been frustrating for the residents but it’s a big project.”

He said including the former Fort Hill School site had delayed the schedule, along with the sensitivities around building on an ancient monument.

However, he hopes the community will be pleased with the final plans.

“There is a whole history to the area that has been lost and we have been working with a specialist team which has done research to display information on this,” he said.

The team has also considered put sustainability at the top of the agenda, with plans to include electric vehicle charging, bike storage, high spec insulation and thermal efficiency of homes, and enhanced biodiversity.

Around 50 people living in the Winklebury Centre will need to be rehomed before the work begins while retailers will be given temporary space for their shops while work is carried out.

However, one business previously raised concerns about this. 

John Waterfield, from Vivid, said that the housing association has been liaising with both residents and shopkeepers throughout.

He said: “It might be that we find new homes for them elsewhere or they might want to stay in Winklebury. When it is appropriate we will assist people with moving costs and home loss payments.”

Payments will be given to cover costs such as buying new carpets and other items needed for moving house.

The new homes on the former Fort Hill School site will be offered to existing residents with plans for these to be completed in the first phase of the project.

The current retailers will be given the first option to move into the new units.

The project began in 2015/16 and now Vivid plans to submit an application early in 2022 with hopes to start building work in early 2023 to complete the first phase by spring 2025.

Vivid has already held several community engagement events and plans to hold a webinar early next year to update Winklebury residents of its plans.

Rebecca said: “We want to make this somewhere people are proud to live and want to visit.”