Multi-million proposals to transform Fareham town centre unveiled
A MULTI-MILLION masterplan to transform Fareham town centre is being developed, The News can reveal.
Under new proposals, Fareham Health Centre and its adjoining buildings could be demolished in favour of an extension to Fareham Shopping Centre that will be a mixed residential and commercial development.
The Ashcroft Arts Centre in Osborn Road is also targeted to be demolished for housing but elements of the centre will be brought to Ferneham Hall as part of an extension to the venue and the street’s multi-storey car park will also be demolished in favour of a residential development.
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council has said the plans will transform the area, providing a larger scale to improving shopping in the centre and meet the council’s target housing needs by building on brownfield sites.
He told The News: ‘We are basically building a masterplan, aimed at how we build more homes and continue to improve our outstanding facilities in the area.
‘It is all about building for the future and making use of our brownfield sites in the best possible way.’
Currently, the proposals are being developed by working groups at the borough council, made up of councillors and officers.
A draft of the masterplan will then be presented to the council’s executive to be decided upon and included in a new local plan for the borough that a planning inspector will determine in either 2018 or 2019.
Cllr Woodward has previously spoke of his desire to build housing in place of the multi-storey car park and says the building could be demolished in at least two years’ time as part of the proposals.
He added: ‘The masterplan itself will be a phased project that will be developed over the next few years and is likely to be rolled out in stages.’
Fareham Health Centre would be replaced by a primary care hub elsewhere in the city should it and its surrounding buildings be demolished as part of the plans though the council are also considering the options of turning it into flats within its current shape.
A spokesperson for the Roubaix Group, owners of Fareham Shopping Centre, said: ‘We invested in Fareham Shopping Centre as we could see the potential to make the centre more successful and more attractive as Fareham’s premier shopping destination.
‘Eight new lettings have been completed to date and we are looking at various other ways to improve the retail and leisure offer within the centre.
‘We will update everyone when we have more details.’
COUNCILLOR BACKS ‘GRAND IDEAS’ OF PROPOSALS
A COUNCILLOR has backed the proposals for the new masterplan but warned that there is ‘a long way’ to go before the vision becomes a reality.
Shaun Cunningham, a Liberal Democrat councillor on the borough council said that residents should be cautious about getting too excited about the proposals while the council determines their viability.
He said: ‘We are at a very early stage of these proposals so far.
‘There is a long way to go and the job of our officers right now is to determine first-of-all if it is a viable plan, if the council would be able to afford something like this and to establish whether we would be able to deliver them.
‘We have got some grand ideas at play here, which will have a big and hopefully, positive, impact on the area.
‘But first of all we need to address the existing centre before we start bringing these proposals forward.’
The council launched working groups earlier in the summer to come up with ways to boost shopping trade in the centre and in West Street.
Councillor Cunningham added: ‘My fears are that by promising so much, we have to be able to deliver it.’
HEALTH BOSSES UNVEIL PLANS FOR NEW PRIMARY CARE HUB
A NEW primary care hub will be built if Fareham Health Centre is closed or demolished as part of the borough council’s new masterplan.
Health bosses have confirmed that talks with the local authority have taken place over plans to bring ‘patient-centred facilities’ in a new hub to the town.
No specific location has been named in mind for the new hub as of yet.
Andy Wood, chief finance officer for NHS Fareham and Gosport CCG confirmed the talks.
He said: ‘We have been in discussions with Fareham Borough Council both about joint-working across projects and the possibility of a new primary care hub as part of the council’s vision for the area.
‘The proposals for a hub would give the NHS the potential to create a dynamic, new and patient-centered facilities to replace the health centre, which is an aging building.
‘This has been identified as a key strategic project in our strategic estate plan and we are committed to working with the council to make the most of this exciting opportunity to co-locate public services on a redeveloped site.
‘We are currently waiting for the council to advise us of the detail and the preferred options for the area.’
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of the council said that the plans would see Fareham Shopping Centre expand into the space currently occupied by the neighbouring health centre.
He said: ‘There is a lot of potential there to make the best use of the site and we need to look into that.
‘Of course a new facility is needed to replace it.’