Policy SPS3: Delivering the Basingstoke Town Centre Masterplan
Policy SPS3: Delivering the Basingstoke Town Centre Masterplan
Development proposals must positively contribute to the vitality and viability of the town centre. This will ensure Basingstoke town centre remains the borough’s principal centre for retail, supported by leisure, employment, community, cultural and residential uses.
Development proposals must support, and not prejudice, the implementation of the Masterplan for Basingstoke Town Centre (December 2022) and be consistent with the following key objectives for future change. The town centre will:
In order to achieve these objectives, planning permission will be granted where development proposals meet the following criteria where they are relevant to the scale and nature of the proposal:
Ensuring the successful delivery of the town centre strategy is likely to involve various transitional arrangements in order to facilitate the development process. Where these are required, they should ensure that the town centre continues to operate effectively in functional terms, and ensure that any impacts on the character of the area are mitigated successfully and in a proportionate way to the nature of the works in question.
|Basingstoke Town Centre is the primary centre for the Borough. While the role of town centres is increasingly diversifying away from being seen solely as a retail centre, the primacy of the town centre as a high quality and distinctive destination for shopping, leisure, cultural, employment and civic functions remains important. The projected reduction in retail floorspace in the borough over the coming years will be taken as an opportunity to consolidate, but also contract, retail provision in the town centre and introduce a greater diversity of main town centre uses.
|The long-term uncertainty around town centre trends underlines the need to deliver buildings, streets and spaces which are flexible and adaptable. Whilst the town centre will continue to provide significant shopping and leisure space, proposals to redevelop or modify existing retail facilities should be taken as an opportunity to introduce a network of more flexible and adaptable outdoor streets rather than extend or further ‘lock in’ the existing patterns of development. Any changes should be focussed towards the introduction of a more diverse offer, better integrated with the surrounding streets and historic town.
|Top of the Town is the historic heart of Basingstoke and remains important in the life of the town centre. The retention of retail uses with existing shop fronts is strongly encouraged. Opportunities for workspace, including creative and co-working spaces, cultural and leisure facilities and residential uses will be encouraged in this area.
|Town centre living is regarded as an important component to create a vibrant and attractive place which can sustain a mix of uses. The Policy includes an allocation for approximately 400 homes in the town centre over the Plan period. This is likely to be delivered within the Areas of Change, most notably in the Top of Town and Eastrop areas, but other suitable schemes will be permitted where they support the aims of the Policy. Where housing is proposed, it should have access to suitable supporting infrastructure and include an appropriate mix of dwelling and tenure types to enable a diverse community. Family housing, either as town houses or duplex units, will be expected alongside flats and must benefit from private amenity space such as a garden, terrace or large balcony as well as shared green space.
|Schemes should deliver sufficient levels of parking to meet the needs of residents as well as visitors and, where possible, should also support and enable innovative community car services such as car clubs.
|The conversion of upper floors to provide residential accommodation is encouraged, ideally with independent residential access from the street frontage, with the aim of increasing the town centre residential population and creating positive street frontages which improve safety and connections.
|As part of delivering a more sustainable town centre the approach to the management of parking is expected to change over time, in accordance with the Council’s transport and parking strategies. This will help to protect the ability of the town centre to continue to adapt over time.
|Small scale surface car parks may provide some scope to be consolidated into fewer larger facilities, particularly in the Top of the Town area. This is intended to make them more efficient in operation whilst also providing potential for other land uses to deliver more built capacity and improve street frontage continuity. New parking facilities are expected to include integrated charging facilities for electric vehicles, or other future technologies, enabled to form part of a wider smart energy grid. In accordance with the Council’s transport and parking strategies, it is expected that improvements are made in town centre accessibility by active modes as well as public transport. It is, however, important to recognise the need to continue to access the town by car, particularly by those visitors from rural areas where there may be limited alternatives available.
|Every opportunity should be sought to increase natural features in the centre, through new and enhanced green spaces, green links, street trees and other forms of greenery such as green walls. Development and public realm projects will play an important role in making the town centre more uplifting and able to support health and well-being. Greening the town centre will enhance biodiversity and mitigate the effects of climate change, and innovative ways to improve the environment and air quality will generally be supported.
|Key routes across the town centre, as shown on the inset map (see Policy SPS4) will be safeguarded. Streets within the town centre will be designed to allow for safe cycle access, providing connections into and through the town for local journeys and will anticipate transport innovations such as e-scooters, cargo-bike deliveries and autonomous deliveries. Developments and public realm projects will be expected to incorporate new cycle parking, for both visitors and residents and will include charging facilities and space for non-standard cycles.
|The policy includes reference to the transitional nature of the evolution of the town centre. A number of temporary arrangements may be required as part of the change process. Such arrangements will need to ensure that the town centre and associated infrastructure continues to be able to operate effectively and that other impacts, such as to the character of the area, are mitigated as much as is practicable.
|The policy will be applied to new development in a manner which is appropriate to its scale. Not all of the requirements will be relevant to small scale development.
Implementation and Monitoring
The policy will be implemented through:
The policy will be monitored by:
Other monitoring of the vitality of the town centre will be undertaken in relation to Policy EMP3.