New places to work, play sport and have fun are all coming to Whitehill & Bordon in 2018.
In the last 12 months the town’s regeneration has leapt forward with a host of homes, business opportunities and infrastructure delivered.
And the next year promises to be just as exciting with many more projects about to come to fruition.
Whitehill & Bordon is being transformed in to a prosperous green and healthy town by a partnership of local authorities, developers, housing associations, Government bodies and Enterprise M3 LEP.
In 2017 the town saw the launch of three major business and employment opportunities – pointing to a prosperous future with rising economic growth and better job prospects.
In April the Enterprise Zone was opened, paving the way for future investment and making the town more attractive to start-ups and established businesses.
The Business and Enterprise Centre, known as Base, in the refurbished former Sergeants’ Mess is a high spec, purpose-designed facility for start-ups as well as established businesses. It opened in Louisburg Barracks in the autumn.
Louisburg is also home to the new Future Skills Centre, which opened in September. Designed and built by Hampshire County Council, with £3.8m of funding from Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, the Future Skills Centre is operated by the Basingstoke College of Technology. It offers a comprehensive range of courses for young people, primarily in construction trades.
As well as laying the foundations for a thriving economy, 2017 also delivered the new facilities needed for a flourishing community.
Hogmoor Inclosure received an extensive make-over with new paths and trails and a fantastic new natural play area opened in July. The re-located skate park, designed with input from local users, was also launched in a blaze of action with BMX champion Liam Phillips among those demonstrating their skills on the new facility.
The Whitehill & Bordon Community Trust has started working in the town, providing events and activities for families to stay healthy and active. The trust’s first success was to install a skating rink at Budds Lane for the Christmas period.
Around the town more than 130 new homes have been built, outstripping the target set at the beginning of the year, and demand for these new houses continues to grow.
Servicing these new homes and facilities is the first part of the town’s relief road, running from the A325 through the north of the town into Louisburg Barracks. Hampshire County Council is due to complete the second section this year. The new 2.6-mile road, designed to support the regeneration of the town, will become the main traffic route and relieve congestion in the high street.
One of the most significant advances came right at the end of the year as the planning application for a new town centre was submitted to East Hampshire District Council. The town centre will see a cinema, restaurants, a supermarket, shops, businesses and homes in a new thriving core.
The planning application is set for decision in 2018 and, if approved, work could begin on the new centre in the autumn of next year, ending 2018 with a bang.
As successful as 2017 has been 2018 looks set to better it.
A new sports pavilion is nearing completion on the Bordon and Oakhanger Sports Club land and work on the new leisure centre is expected to begin.
Business will continue to boom with the launch of the TechForest, a segment of the Enterprise Zone dedicated to companies specialising in technology.
The council is confident there will be several major new job announcements in 2018 as employers increasingly see the area as a good base to expand their business.
New homes will be delivered and partners will carry on driving standards to make sure they are energy efficient and built to the highest standards.
Existing homes will also be brought up to meet environmental standards with grant money available to install modern energy-saving measures.
These new enhancements and developments all follow the Whitehill and Bordon’s philosophy of encouraging green and healthy lifestyles, and its status as a Healthy New Town will bring forward more projects to enable people to live healthy, active and independent lives.
Radian will soon be launching its new community café, Café 1759, at the Quebec Park development. Providing nutritious food and a range of health-centred activities, the café will support the town’s healthy ethos.
Furthermore, the county council is set to start building Mill Chase Academy’s new 900-place secondary school on Budds Lane.
Cllr Ferris Cowper, Chairman of the Whitehill & Bordon Strategy Board, said: “In 2017 we saw the future of Whitehill & Bordon taking shape before our eyes.
“All of us associated with the town, whether the district council and its wonderful network of partner organisations, or residents, businesses and voluntary groups, are seeing a rare and spectacular event unfolding before our eyes; the creation of a renewed community, diverse and fully supported by infrastructure and services – many of which are state-of-the-art – which offers the real hope of happiness and prosperity for all of its citizens.
“But this aspiration is no longer just a dream, it is happening all around us almost weekly and the speed with which that dream becomes a reality will actually accelerate in 2018.
“Many people in Whitehill and Bordon felt as if the town had been left behind, but that has changed now. Already leading employers, new residents and major government bodies and agencies are realising that this is the place to be. With the planned growth of jobs, homes and facilities now and in the future, allied to its gallant military past, Whitehill and Bordon is a town that we can all be proud of.”
John Coughlan, Chief Executive of Hampshire County Council and Chairman of the Whitehill & Bordon Delivery and Implementation Board, said: “The amazing speed and success of the project during 2017 has been down to the innovative and collaborative way our partners have worked together for the benefit of the town.
“Their combined support, expertise and passion has secured considerable investment for the town and has seen us tick off achievements at an unprecedented pace.
“It is a really exciting time for Whitehill & Bordon and in 2018 we expect to take more giant strides towards its transformation into a green and healthy town.”