To receive a presentation updating members on the development of the Masterplan for the Farnborough Civic Quarter area (report attached).
The Panel received a presentation from Nick Irvine, Principal Planning Officer, on the development of the Masterplan for the Farnborough Civic Quarter area. The Farnborough Town Centre Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) adopted in 2007 identified a vision and set of objectives for the town over a 10-15 year timeframe. The SPD focussed on the need to unify and strengthen the Civic Quarter and its functions and provide new public space. The Farnborough Civic Quarter SPD set out a vision, design and delivery principles and an example scheme layout to guide future development.
AECOM had been appointed as the consultant to lead on the development of the Masterplan and to take forward an outline planning application for the former police station site as a first phase of development on behalf of Homes England (formerly the Homes and Communities Agency). The landowners had entered into a memorandum of understanding in March 2017 to jointly masterplan the Civic Quarter, enable regeneration to come forward on a phased basis and work collaboratively throughout the design and delivery phase.
There were six plots within the development parcel which included the Iceland store, Library, former Police Station, Community Centre, Leisure Centre and Westmead House/Sulzers Roundabout. The Iceland store was in a strategic position that was integral to achieving improved connectivity. Discussions would be held with tenants to understand their position and future plans. Hampshire County Council was not in a position financially to relocate the Library at the current time, although it was keen to support the delivery of the wider masterplan. Demolition of the former Police Station had been completed in March 2017 and Homes England would be looking for expressions of interest in January 2018 with a full invitation to tender expected in March 2018. The Community Centre was owned by the Council and existing users would be relocated prior to redevelopment. Discussions would be held with the users to agree the way forward. Options for the redevelopment of the Leisure Centre were being considered, it was likely to be developed in parcels to enable a continuity of use of some of the facilities. Westmead House and Sulzers Roundabout was owned by the Wilky Group and there was currently well established office use with good occupancy levels. Options for the site were being explored and discussions would be held on whether the site should be retained or reprovided.
There would be public engagement activity carried out to inform the final masterplan to balance community use, public open space and leisure. The Panel felt it was important to maximise the channels of engagement to give all residents the opportunity to comment and feel that their view had been heard. The public engagement activity would run in late Spring/early Summer.
The Panel expressed concern regarding how the infrastructure would cope with additional housing in the town centre. The Panel was advised that Hampshire County Council was currently working on a Farnborough Growth Package to address the increase in traffic. Developers would also need to make a contribution to improve the infrastructure. A question was also raised regarding the provision of the skate park. The Panel was advised that an alternative location had been identified for a skate park and young people would be engaged to find out what they would like included in the new provision.
The Panel NOTED the update and proposed next steps.