Chineham District Centre, Basingstoke

Background

Real estate investment firm Tellon Capital acquired Chineham District Centre in Basingstoke in early 2018, seeing the enhancement potential.

The Centre is extremely well-used by the local community and is anchored by the borough’s busiest superstore, as well as hosting a library. However, it is currently relatively tired and constrained by an outdated layout and parking configuration.

Tellon Capital brought forward proposals representing c.£30 million in investment, comprising the reconfiguration of the centre to deliver further retail, a hotel, a health centre, extensive public realm and to improve parking and public transport/pedestrian/cycling connectivity.

Key project information

The objective of the project was to secure planning consent for a comprehensive and viable enhancement. The surplus car parking at the centre in particular created the opportunity for development.

Tellon Capital has not previously worked in Basingstoke & Deane so reputation and relationship-building were important strands.

As an extremely well-used and valued centre at the fulcrum of three borough council wards, any enhancement proposals needed to be brought forward transparently and collectively with stakeholders, tenants and existing centre users.

The strategy had to be reactive to several challenges that arose throughout the programme, including a change of leadership at the Council, the Conservatives losing their overall majority to now run the Council as a minority administration, the declaration of a Climate Emergency and the scrutiny around sustainability that this entailed, the COVID pandemic and the concurrent impact on the retail market and proposals from Hampshire County Council to close Chineham Library, drawing a huge public outcry.

How we assisted

BECG devised the communications strategy and led on its delivery, working very closely with the full project team to do so.

For a site with this level of public interest, a two-stage consultation was devised, first seeking input into early ideas and then demonstrating how these have been taken into account and shaped the proposals prior to submission. The lynchpin of this strategy was two public exhibition events at the centre, attended by well over 500 people.

Prior to public consultation, we secure engagement with key councillors, the local MP and tenants, with contact with these key stakeholders ongoing throughout the lifetime of the project.

Outcome

Support for the proposals at the second consultation just prior to submission stood at 94%. The proposals achieved consent at committee in August 2020.

BECG delivered real value to us in Chineham, managing the comms around an asset with substantial community interest through political change and working proactively with the project team to expertly help us navigate some unexpected hurdles along the way.

Amy Jones, Head of Planning at Tellon Capital