A vision that could transform and revitalise Basingstoke Leisure Park, bringing in a range of exciting new attractions, has been outlined to borough councillors.
As owners of the 60-acre leisure park, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council entered into an exploratory exclusivity agreement with developer NewRiver Retail in February this year to encourage major new investment in the Leisure Park. Since then, the company has been making progress with commercial discussions with leisure operators to investigate what facilities could be brought to the park, which was developed mostly in the 1980s and 1990s.
In a presentation to councillors held on Tuesday 15 December, NewRiver executives set out ideas for a much bigger and better leisure offer that would include a new Aquadrome to replace the ageing swimming and sports centre along with a dual use ice rink and events arena. The aim would be to provide something for all the family and a range of different interests. Other new attractions that could feature include a velodrome for cycling enthusiasts, a children’s activity centre and extreme sports facilities, such as a climbing wall or surfing centre, to complement the existing indoor sky diving at the park.
The emerging proposals are part of a package for a major overhaul of the park, which could create an estimated 2,400 jobs and bring nearly £200 million of investment to the borough.
As part of the focus on improved leisure facilities, NewRiver Retail, a UK publicly listed property investment and development company, has also included proposals for a designer outlet village where world leading designer brands would be offered at discount prices creating a major new leisure destination for all the family, both residents and visitors.
Francois Nairac, Development Director at NewRiver Retail, said: “We are very pleased with the progress that we have made to create an exciting new leisure destination in Basingstoke. Our scheme has evolved, and although we have retained a clear emphasis on leisure, the growing popularity of designer outlet centres and the unmet demand for one along the M3 corridor has meant that we would like to include this in the overall scheme.”
The Cabinet member leading on the Leisure Park regeneration Cllr John Izett said: “These are significant early stage proposals which would transform our Leisure Park and deserve to be considered and looked at in more detail. They amount to an ambitious and exciting opportunity for the borough and we owe it to residents and future generations to consider bold and innovative action to keep the Leisure Park flourishing. A leisure scheme on this scale would really put the borough on the map, providing new facilities that people who live here deserve and bringing investment and 2,400 jobs.”
The concept plans will be discussed with Leisure Park tenants now they have been shared with councillors. A formal development agreement would be required between NewRiver Retail and the council before more detailed plans are advanced and wide-ranging public engagement undertaken before a planning application could be submitted. The proposals will be discussed by councillors at January’s Community Environment and Partnerships Committee and a development agreement between the council and New River Retail is likely to be considered by the Cabinet following that.