Key Property Investments (KPI) and Rushmoor Borough Council have signed the agreements which give the green light to the long awaited £80 million re-development of Farnborough town centre.
Since KPI, the joint venture between St Modwen Properties PLC and Salhia Real Estate Company K.S.C, acquired the Kingsmead and Queensmead sections of the town centre in 1998, KPI and Rushmoor have worked tirelessly to achieve their combined objective of providing Farnborough with a centre for the 21st Century.
Two early phases – Queensgate and the Mead – have already been completed to provide relocation space for traders dislodged by the wider proposals. These two advanced schemes have already given a hint as to how the centre of Farnborough will be transformed by this major development.
The main phases will commence on site in a matter of weeks to provide a wide range of town centre uses, including new shop units, leisure facilities and residential space. Significantly, an impressive line up of major tenants have already committed to the scheme including Sainsbury’s, which will be taking a 50,000 sq ft store, VUE Cinemas, which is to operate an eight-screen cinema, Gala Bingo and Travelodge which is to open a 77-bed hotel.
Discussions are advanced with other well known high street retailers who will ensure that Farnborough for the first time has a shopping offer which can serve its natural catchment which currently has to travel further than necessary to have its shopping needs met.
This agreement also makes provision for 106 private residential units and 26 affordable housing units. The scheme proposals also secure the reprovision of Firgrove Court owned by Wessex Housing (30 affordable units) in the shape of state of the art purpose built properties at Solartron Road.
The scheme is programmed to start with a major demolition contract commencing in three weeks and diversions of principal services. Work on the Sainsbury’s store and the 30 new shop units will start before the end of this year.
The cinema scheme will act as an additional anchor to the southern end of Queensmead and is to be supported by 25,000 sq ft of bar/restaurant units. The cinema planning application will be submitted in the next two weeks and if planning permission is granted could be on site early next year.
Simon Rutter of St Modwen said “This is the culmination of almost ten years hard work and commitment and we are delighted that we are now able to commence work. The project has been challenging for many different reasons but we have come through it all, not least because of the patience, support and understanding of the majority of local people, the council officers and its members.
“Farnborough will now get the town centre it deserves. The scheme will be delivered in several phases, with the demolition commencing within weeks, followed by a complicated logistical set of works to divert statutory services. The main scheme construction elements will commence before the end of the year and the new facilities will be phased to open from the middle of 2008 through to 2009.
“We will be doing our best to programme and manage our works so that the disruption to traders and shoppers is kept to a minimum.”
Andrew Lloyd, Rushmoor Borough Council’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a truly momentous occasion for Farnborough and I’m delighted that we have been able to sign the development agreement to bring about the town centre’s regeneration. I know residents have been disappointed at the time it has taken, but it has been an incredibly complex project and one that we needed to get right, both to secure the town centre’s future prosperity and to protect taxpayers’ money.
“I would like to thank all who have been involved for their support, especially Hampshire County Council, who agreed to transfer some of their highways land, which enabled the scheme to go ahead.
“Now we just look forward to seeing the new Farnborough town centre take shape as quickly as possible.”
For further information contact Simon Rutter (020 7499 5666) or Andrew Lloyd (01252 398396) . Issued by Paul Raymer of Howle Chapman Raymer (0121 236 7771) and Gill Chisnall of Rushmoor Borough Council (01252 398744).