Rushmoor Borough Council hopes to make improvements in and around Union Street and Wellington Street, along with South East Water improvements.
Rushmoor Borough Council (RBC) is hoping 2015 could prove to be the start of a new era of prosperity for Aldershot with efforts to regenerate the town due to get under way this week.
RBC has pledged £4.5m to make improvements to the street scene in and around Union Street and Wellington Street, while South East Water (SEW) is working to future proof the town centre water supplies.
Both the council and SEW have pledged to work together over the coming months to ensure any works are completed simultaneously to avoid undue impact on shoppers or traders.
The council is also committed to exploring options for the second phase of the Westgate development, which will include discussion over whether to refurbish or relocate Princes Hall, while considering new uses for Aldershot police station.
RBC chief executive, Andrew Lloyd, told the News & Mail there was a sense it was time to ‘grasp the moment’ and deliver to residents the town centre they want and deserve.
Work has also started on the first phase of the Aldershot Urban Extension, Project Wellesley, which will create nearly 4,000 new homes in Aldershot over the next 15 years.
Indicative planning permissions for Project Wellesley were secured by development manager Grainger Plc in July 2013, with Bellway Homes already working to deliver the first 228 new homes. The first families are expected to move in this spring.
Last month, David Quirk, RBC director of community and environment, said the council had ‘big regeneration plans’ coming forward for Aldershot over the next 12 months.
RBC has instructed architects Allies and Morrison to create a new ‘vision’ for the town, identifying specific town centre sites where the council believes improvement and action is necessary.
One key objective for the council is to further integrate the Westgate development into the existing town centre via Barrack Road and Grosvenor Road.
Meanwhile, better signage, digital, new footways and stairways connecting the High Street car park and Court Road and increased visitor information, including potential interactive visitor information boards, will all form part of the council’s initial £4.5m investment.
“There is a real enthusiasm to grasp the moment,” said Mr Lloyd. “It is very much an exciting time. As an organisation, we are motivated by our ambitions to drive positive change in Aldershot.
“The Activation Aldershot improvements getting under way this week will help free up areas of the town centre and really enhance links with Westgate.
“There is certainly going to be a strong focus on the town centre this year. We want to involve the community in this as much as we can too, and there will be opportunities once we’ve completed our masterplan – our vision.
“It will also be a year for delivering practical works on the ground as we are seeing with the incredible investment in Wellesley and also the garrison.”
Late last year, a number of businesses in the town centre gave SEW their backing after the firm proactively consulted with traders over its four-month programme of water mains improvements.
There have been six major bursts since 2010, which saw SEW last year outline its plans to renew Aldershot’s ‘ageing network’ of important underground pipes.
The £85,000 scheme started on Monday with works between the Cross Street and the Short Street junction and Wellington Street, scheduled to last nine weeks.
A second phase is due to start on March 9 and will run between Union Street and High Street for three weeks before the final phase starts in late March between Wellington Street and Short Street, for five weeks.