To receive an update on the work being carried out by the Aldershot Task and Finish Group and the latest position.
The Panel received a presentation on the current position with Aldershot and plans for the future. Andrew Lloyd, Chief Executive, provided a strategic overview on the way forward for Aldershot. The Panel was advised that work was being undertaken at an officer level on the regeneration project to ensure there was cohesion to take all projects forward. A group had undertaken some work to provide a model to encourage properties into a fund to drive investment in the town. Members were briefed on a report on The Fragmented Ownership Group which focussed on working with towns with various owners. It offered a potentially good solution for Aldershot.
David Phillips, Town Centre and Cultural Manager, updated the Panel on the current issues:
· Aldershot Town Centre Prospectus - had been published in January which included development of the Galleries, Union Street East, the Railway and Bus Station and the Magistrates Court and Police Station.
· Homeless - a press release had been issued to show what action was being taken to address the homelessness issue in the town. Planters were being placed in some empty shop doorways and hoardings and shutters were being put up on others to try to prevent homeless individuals locating there.
· Marks and Spencer Unit – a general discount store would be leasing the unit from Marks and Spencer and likely to move into the unit in the summer.
· The Galleries – the owner, Threadneedle, was close to finalising a deal with a development company to provide a mixed-use development with leisure/retail on the ground floor with residential above.
· The Empire and The Palace – both premises had been leased for fifteen years, The Empire was operating as a banqueting suite and The Palace had been opened as a nightclub.
· Wellesley Development – the development was progressing well and residents had started to move into properties in December 2015. Building on Phase II was due to start in May 2016.
· Public Realm Improvements – improvements had been made to Barrack Road, Court Road and Union Street.
· Shop Front Improvements – a fund of £200,000 had been made available for businesses to apply for up to £10,000 for shop front improvements. To date nine businesses had received funding and two composite schemes were being developed.
· Business Improvement District – Aldershot was being taken forward to create an Aldershot Business Improvement District.
The Panel expressed concern about the continuing issues with street homeless in Aldershot. The Panel was advised that The Vine was working daily with the homeless residents to try to engage with them and identify what help they needed to take them off the street. The Council’s Homelessness Officers had also been working with The Vine. It was proposed that discussions should also be held with the Probation Service to see if there were any links with those currently homeless in Aldershot. It was confirmed that addressing the issues was considered to be a high priority for the Council and the approach sought was to balance the need for timely enforcement with actions to support those willing to engage.
The Panel NOTED the presentation.