Farnborough’s Queensmead shopping centre is set for a facelift as part of ongoing work to enhance the area for shoppers.
‘Tired’ flats above shops on both sides of the outdoor shopping complex, between the junctions with The Mead and Kingsmead, will be renovated and provided with new aluminium-edged canopies as well as windows and blue panels to replace those that have fallen into a poor condition.
The application, by Key Property Investments on behalf of Queensmead owners St Modwen, is intended to enhance its appearance and is part of an £80 million investment in Farnborough town centre. The planning statement, submitted this month, stated that the work would increase the ‘vitality and viability’ of the shopping centre.
James Stockdale, development manager at St Modwen, said: “The £80 million regeneration of Farnborough town centre is well underway and revitalising Queensmead is a key part of this.
“We have submitted a planning application to refurbish the canopies and upper parts of the shops and, subject to approval, hope to confirm when these improvements will take place in the near future.
“As part of the regeneration, we have already created retail space for big names including Sainsbury’s, Star-bucks and New Look and a seven-screen Vue cinema is due to open this year.
“The 45 new apartments at Centrus at the Meads also proved particularly popular and are now fully sold.”
Council chief executive Andrew Lloyd felt the refurbishment would be the final piece of the jigsaw in revitalising Queensmead, following long discussions with St Modwen.
“The canopies and facades are quite tired-looking so I’m pleased this application has gone in,” he said.
“This is the final phase to enhance Farnborough as an attractive shopping centre for local people and to attract new people as well.”
A decision on the planning application is expected in June.
One of the main parts of the £80 million regeneration of the area between Princes Mead and Kingsmead, which begun in November 2008, was the expansion of the Sainsbury’s store which was completed at the end of 2009.
A festival was held by the Farnborough Society to celebrate the completion of a £1 million scheme at Queensmead last October, after work was done to pedestrianise the area.
This included new paving, seating and lighting, with trees planted along the length of the shopping centre, plus space for markets and seasonal activities at the southern end.
Society secretary Councillor Barbara Hurst described the project as ‘ambitious’, adding that members hoped people would completely reconsider the town as a venue, cultural centre and place to shop.