A £40m BOOST could be on its way to Havant over the next 10 years amid major plans to regenerate the town centre.
Designed by the same architects as Gunwharf Quays, the plans include a new gateway to the town, with redevelopment of Market Parade next to the railway station.
Unveiled yesterday was a new design for a £15m development on derelict land of the former Star pub.
The design, updated from a previous version that had a lukewarm reception earlier this year, includes 120 apartments, six shops, and basement parking for 58 cars.
There is a ‘feature tower’ of up to eight storeys, stepping down to five storeys.
The plans also include a new footbridge over the railway – replacing the grotty structure currently there.
A long-term vision was also unveiled, including redeveloping the other side of Market Parade alongside Havant Park.
This includes a new forecourt to the railway station – one of the busiest in the south – as well as restaurants overlooking the park, a gym, revamped tennis courts, and a new public square and performance area.
Hazel Bagley, 80, from Havant, visited the exhibition at Havant Meeting Place and was impressed. She said: ‘The plans are a great improvement. We can’t look back – we have to look forward.
‘It’s got to be a good thing for Havant. In Chichester and Petersfield, the planning people jumped on it quick and put in new things, and the Havant area was left to go sleepy.’
Claire Bamber, 38, who owns Brown’s Hairdressing in North Street, Havant, said: ‘It looks smart and quite trendy.
‘The Meridian Centre has cut Havant in half and this end needs regenerating.’
Carole Nash, 69, a member of Havant Civic Society, said it was her personal view that Havant needed a tall building to mark it as the centre of the borough.
Shaun Adams, a director of developer Hampshire and Regional Property Group, said: ‘This would be a catalyst for significant change in this part of the town. It’s complex land assembly. But we are experts in urban regeneration and this is what we do.’
He added: ‘This is a very important scheme for Havant. It’s not a quick scheme – we have been working on this for many years. The scheme has evolved significantly from where we started.’
A planning application for the apartment block is likely to be submitted in the coming months.