New scheme for former BAE site... but still no cinema

The former BAE site in Waterlooville, highlighted in red
The former BAE site in Waterlooville, highlighted in red
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PLANS for a Lidl supermarket and a McDonald’s drive-through are on the cards amid a huge redevelopment of Waterlooville’s BAE site.

But community leaders are hoping the area is not going to get another retail park because there are still no firm plans for the cinema and bowling alley that were originally mooted.

Developer Hargreaves has submitted plans for a McDonald’s with 46 parking spaces and a Lidl with 102 parking spaces on the sprawling site off Hambledon Road.

The one remaining building on the 12-acre site is E Block and the developers are asking for it to be converted to leisure and/or non-food retail use. If no leisure operator comes forward, the plans suggest the building could become a DIY or homeware store.

David Crichton, chairman of Waterlooville Community Forum, is desperate for the town to get more leisure facilities.

The original plans to build a bowling alley, gym and cinema were withdrawn earlier this year.

He said: ‘The concern we have is retail creep. The fact they have asked for alternatives suggests they are still trying to get someone.

‘There’s a concern over the long-term direction of it. Are we going to get the leisure facility? Are we going to get leisure or are they going to get an extension to the retail park?’

Councillor David Guest, who is in charge of regeneration at Havant Borough Council, was more optimistic.

He said: ‘It’s a move forward with the proposal.

‘The unfortunate thing is they can’t identify any leisure tenants. The viability and development of the site is very important.

‘They have got some occupiers interested. Hopefully the interest from developers will grow when they see the opportunities the site offers.

‘The more the site is developed with one or two occupiers, I think it changes the appeal of the site.’

A planning report submitted by the developer says the current Lidl in Cowplain would not be affected.

It says: ‘This store is overtrading, and the effect of introducing a complementary store at the site will not jeopardise its future, nor that of Cowplain centre as a whole.’

The report adds: ‘To date, despite a comprehensive marketing effort, we have not succeeded in attracting an appropriate cinema or bowling operator for the site. Nonetheless, the campaign continues but in the meantime the site will also be marketed to retailers, in accordance with the local development plan, in order to ensure E Block’s continued beneficial use (and to prevent its vacancy, which would be detrimental to the area and the prospects of securing future investment).’

The plans will be decided upon by councillors at a later planning meeting.