As a major boost to its plans to regenerate and improve Farnborough town centre, Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed to buy The Meads and Kingsmead shopping centre.
The purchase will include Blocks 1 to 4 of The Meads, where private redevelopment has not progressed as originally planned, together with the main shopping centre, car park and business centre.
It means that the council will be in a stronger position to deliver its vision for the town centre, created with local people, as an attractive destination where residents and visitors choose to go and to spend time.
It also supports the council’s wider regeneration plans for the civic quarter, which are due to be considered by its development management committee on Wednesday 22 February.
Councillor Martin Tennant, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for major projects and property at Rushmoor Borough Council, said: “The message from local people has been loud and clear that they want Farnborough town centre to be somewhere they can be proud of.
“It is a bold step that we are taking, but as in Aldershot town centre where Union Yard is now well advanced, this purchase gives us the opportunity and control to deliver a joined-up plan for the long-term success of the town centre and its regeneration.
“Importantly, it will also quite quickly provide the council with additional income, over and above the cost of borrowing, which will support our priority regeneration schemes, including the new leisure and cultural hub.”
The Cabinet heard on Tuesday (7 February) that the current owner of The Meads and Kingsmead, St Modwen, was keen to sell its interests in Farnborough following its acquisition by another company.
Blocks 1 and 2 of The Meads include Sainsbury’s supermarket, car park and neighbouring shops, the Travelodge hotel, Wetherspoon’s public house, gym and play centre along with 70 homes.
Block 3 was cleared for redevelopment in 2020, but this has not progressed, and Block 4 has planning consent in place for shops with offices or homes above.
Kingsmead contains 24 shop units as well as the Vue cinema with the business centre above it and its car park up to 691 spaces.
In reaching its decision, the Cabinet considered and agreed a detailed business case for the purchase of The Meads and Kingsmead. As an early step, the council will now bring in a property management company to manage the estate.
Leader of Rushmoor Borough Council, Councillor David Clifford, said: “Town centre regeneration is our top priority in both Aldershot and Farnborough, and this latest purchase makes clear the strength of the council’s commitment to delivering better towns for our residents and businesses.”