Union Street East

We have plans to regenerate a number of the key buildings and former shops towards the bottom of Union Street in Aldershot town centre.

Our regeneration plans for Union Street East

We are proposing a regeneration scheme for a number of the key buildings and former shops in Union Street, running from, and including, the former Marks and Spencer store to the corner of Wellington Street. Some of the buildings also have a High Street frontage.

We refer to this area as Union Street East.

This council-led scheme proposes that the buildings fronting Union Street continue as shop units on the ground floor, with the upper floors providing residential units. The High Street side may be more varied and may possibly include residential units on the ground, as well as the upper floors.

The site contains a number of attractive historic buildings, and we are committed to retaining the facades while configuring the site to create modern shop units and homes.

Union Street East

What has happened so far

  • January 2016 - we adopt the pdf icon Aldershot town centre prospectus [11Mb] following public consultation. This put forward proposals for  a development of commercial uses on the ground floor, (retail /leisure), with residential above. As well as emphasising our desire to retain,where possible, the historic frontages (mostly on the High Street), the prospectus also propose a pedestrian link through the former Marks and Spencer store from the High Street to the Wellington Centre
  • March 2016 - we submit an 'Expression of Interest' application to the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), for funding towards the cost of the scheme
  • August 2016 - we buy 60/62 Union Street, now occupied by Party Buz. We also try to buy 54/56 Union Street and 53-55 High Street though a sealed bid, but are unsuccessful  
  • December 2016 - we appoint a commercial property agent, Savills, to carry out compulsory purchase order (CPO) valuations of all units that make up the Union Street East site
  • January 2017 - we appoint architects Allies and Morrison to design a scheme for the Union Street East site, supported by viability assessment work from commercial property agents, GVA
  • February 2017 - Poundland confirms its store at 58 Union Street will close in March
  • April 2017 - we buy 58 Union Street
  • September 2017 - Allies and Morrison presents proposed scheme design to our Cabinet and the Aldershot regeneration group
  • November 2017 - GVA produces a financing strategy to support the delivery of the scheme.
  • November 2017 - we submit a bid to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) for funding to help with delivery of the scheme
  • December 2017 - we complete the purchase of 50 Union Street

Next steps in the regeneration of Union Street East

Following the presentation of a scheme design by architects Allies and Morrison, we are using GVA's accompanying financial strategy to explore ways of delivering the proposals. This work is likely to include bids to attract further external funding, selection of a development partner, revision of certain design aspects of the scheme, and the commission of a retail strategy for the town.

In the meantime,we are continuing discussions with landlords of the properties we don't own within the defined site, with a view to assembling the site in one ownership. 

About the Union Street East site

Just a few years ago, there were a number of High Street names in these shop units, including Next, Top Shop, Evans, Dorothy Perkins and Burton. Following the banking crash in 2008, and a policy shift of national multiples away from smaller towns, these shops closed.

The town's anchor store, M&S Outlet, situated at the western end of the site, closed in September 2015.

Although some of the units are occupied, including Card Factory, Claire's Accessories, Mango Bean coffee shop and Party Buz, many are now vacant.

Some of the units are no longer fit for purpose and don't meet modern retail requirements. This is because of their size or shape, a lack storage or access arrangements or because they are in a state of dilapidation. The properties on the site have a considerable number of different owners and tenants.

In 2015, we appointed property consultants Montagu Evans and Allies and Morrison to produce a feasibility study of the site. This included development concepts and considered high-level viability. The study concluded that the site would not appeal to major retailers or developers because of the complexity of land ownerships and concerns about viability. It suggested that private sector intervention was unlikely to deliver change and council intervention was necessary. It concluded that we should take a 'leading role' in regenerating the site, in particular through land assembly.

 
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