A development agreement that will give residents access to world-class leisure facilities on their doorstep in the future has been signed by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and NewRiver REIT Plc.
Basingstoke Leisure Park will be transformed, creating 500,000 sq ft of new leisure activities and experiences. Doubling of the size of the existing leisure facilities, the greatly expanded park will operate alongside a 200,000 sq ft designer outlet village, creating an exciting new leisure destination.
NewRiver’s £300 million proposed investment is a vote of confidence for Basingstoke, requiring no public funding to deliver the development. It will include a modern £23 million replacement for the council’s popular Aquadrome, also funded by NewRiver. The existing Aquadrome will remain open during the construction phase until the replacement opens its doors.
The development will create an attractive destination of choice for the south of England contributing to the long-term vision of Basingstoke as a premier town in the region.
The borough council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Service Delivery and Improvement Cllr Robert Tate said: “The current leisure park is getting to the point of needing redevelopment and we need to set a strong vision now for its successful future. Through this exciting and innovative national-scale project we can continue to give our residents access to ‘best in class’ leisure facilities in the future.
“This is an innovative way of delivering a comprehensive renewal of the leisure park without putting the burden on taxpayers to fund it or depending on all operators at the park investing millions in upgrading their facilities on a piecemeal basis. The new leisure park will strengthen Basingstoke’s appeal to a much wider catchment area, keeping the spending in the town from some of the borough’s shoppers and visitors who currently don’t come to Basingstoke to meet their leisure and shopping needs.”
Property Director at NewRiver Allan Lockhart said: “We are delighted to have signed the development agreement with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, a commercially astute and forward-thinking council that shares our ambitious vision to deliver a first of its kind leisure and retail destination of national appeal.
“This agreement is an example of NewRiver using our expertise and resources to deliver the transformative change the area needs. Basingstoke will be at the forefront of the growing trend for integrated leisure and retail that will dominate the market in the years ahead, and NewRiver is perfectly placed to drive it.”
Extensive work on a planning application for the site will now start, including detailed studies and wider technical work. The local community will be actively encouraged to help shape the plans, as well as the new facilities they would like to see, with the first stage of public consultation events scheduled for later in the year.
Discussions will begin with existing operators about future plans and NewRiver will start working with potential occupiers to bring new attractions to Basingstoke. Early concepts draw inspiration from leading global leisure destinations which provide innovative leisure experiences for families, high-adrenaline pursuits and state-of-the-art virtual reality e-sports. Long-term options will also be explored for a new ice rink, including the possibility of a dual-use events arena.
The development would bring significant benefits to the borough in terms of the increased rents and business rates, new jobs and a boost for the local construction industry and attract new income into the local economy.
The designer outlet village, an offer currently unavailable without travelling a considerable distance from Basingstoke, will focus on aspirational brands at affordable prices. It will complement the town centre’s existing retail offer.
A development of this scale is a highly complex project that would be delivered in carefully planned phases. It is estimated that work would begin on the new leisure park from 2023, subject to planning permission.