THIS is the first look at what could become the £15m gateway to Havant.
Developers want to flatten Market Parade and create a landmark building at the entrance to the town centre for commuters getting off at Havant railway station, along with 136 flats and shops.
The area has been left to fall to rack and ruin for many years with broken canopies and run-down shop fronts.
It has been a long-held vision of Havant Borough Council to redevelop the area but the properties are owned by several different landlords which has proved a major setback.
Now Hampshire and Regional Property Group aims to buy up all the units and redevelop.
The plans will be discussed at a development consultation forum at Havant Borough Council tomorrow night.
In a statement the developer said: ‘The proposals will provide a landmark building that is visible from the railway and town centre and aims to maximise the frontage to Havant Park.
‘The aim is also to enliven the link between the existing railway station and bus station and create activity and a better connection along the park edge.
‘The regeneration will provide the opportunity to introduce a quality cafe style feel that is bright, safe and full of life which has been missing in this area for some time.’
Chris Cooper, whose electrical business F O’Reilly is on the opposite side of Market Parade, backs the bid.
He said: ‘I’m encouraged by it. More flats mean more footfall and it is getting very run down.’
But there are concerns over the plans.
Ann Griffiths has lived in Havant for 45 years.
She said: ‘From what I have seen the proposed development is far too high, the density too great and the design needs to be much more inspired.
‘The whole thing sets a precedent by not conforming to the Havant Urban Design Guide, which makes the guide worthless when considering other developments in Havant.’
The development consultation forum is an opportunity for councillors and residents to see the plans and a chance for the developer to sort out any problems before the planning application is submitted to the council.
It is taking place at 6pm in the council chamber of The Plaza.