BASINGSTOKE’S revamped railway station has been officially re-opened following a £2million facelift.

The station entrance has been completely refurbished with a new stainless steel and glass frontage as well as an enlarged booking hall with more ticket machines.

A café, called Cafe Destino, was opened on the site last Thursday and a branch of WH Smith will open in a month, followed by a coffee bar at a date still to be confirmed.

It is hoped the station makeover along with the new “gateway” to The Malls shopping precinct on Alencon Link, will improve the image of the town for visitors.

Basingstoke and Deane Mayor Councillor David Leeks was guest of honour at the official opening, and he unveiled a plaque to mark the revamp, alongside Tim Shoveller, managing director of South West Trains.

Mr Shoveller said the station is used by just under five million passengers a year and is an important hub for the area.

He told The Gazette: “I am delighted that this scheme has been completed on time and on budget. The station now looks much nicer and has got rid of the 1980s concrete look.”

He added: “One of the things I am very clear on is that good transport links are essential for economic activity and, as a country, I think we have forgotten that in recent years.

“But I am very pleased with what we have been able to do here in Basingstoke. The station is a lot more open which will allow passengers to get off the train and pass through the station much more easily.”

Cllr Leeks said: “With its new look and much-improved facilities, the station provides a great welcome and connects really well with the new entrance to The Malls.”

Improved bicycle storage and a new waiting room on platforms two and three are also part of the revamp.