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UPDATED: Plans for major town centre redevelopment unveiled

View from the BCC Bucks County Council tower in Aylesbury - Bottom is the old County Hall, centre is the Exchange Street car park and right is Exchange Street

View from the BCC Bucks County Council tower in Aylesbury - Bottom is the old County Hall, centre is the Exchange Street car park and right is Exchange Street

County Council offices in Walton Street could be redeveloped into new restaurants, shops, housing, car parking and public space in Aylesbury town centre.

The virtually empty offices in Walton Street will form the centre for the proposal which was sent to planning chiefs this week.

Bucks County Council, which submitted the application in partnership with Aylesbury Vale Advantage, said if the plans get the go ahead a large car park could be in place by Christmas.

Blueprints, which have been seen by the Bucks Herald, show the two rear wings of the soon- to-be vacant old county council offices would be taken down.

The front section and historic façade of the building will remain, but around 100 parking bays, would be created at the back.

As yet the Greek restaurant is not affected by the scheme which is separate from the Waterside development project.

County council chiefs say the new spaces will allow for the redevelopment of part of the adjacent Exchange Street car park and the empty offices.

They say the area has been earmarked as a suitable site for more restaurants, shops, homes and public space in the town centre.

In an announcement on Tuesday it was revealed the area would be developed in phases.

Plans for the first phase will be unveiled by Aylesbury Vale District Council and the county council in late 
April when the public will be able to have a say on the 
masterplan.

The plan also includes the demolition of some of the old empty police station buildings, and the demolition of the former Trading Standards office, making way for a new public space and pedestrian link.

A £2million re-development will ‘hugely enhance the town centre’ according to the leader of Bucks County Council.

Martin Tett says that the relocation of staff to county hall presents the perfect opportunity to provide the ‘best deal’ for Aylesbury residents.

He said: “The front of the old offices is a notable landmark in Aylesbury and I’m delighted that it will be retained and remain a feature as the 
redevelopment of the town continues.

“We are determined to ensure the very best deal for Aylesbury residents, shoppers and businesses, whilst retaining the ability to park close to the shops. I’m excited at the prospect that this plan will hugely enhance their town centre.”

The plans are in conjunction with Aylesbury Vale Advantage, a district council-backed organisation which manages growth in the district.

Advantage has already secured funding for the project, and managing director Richard Harrington spoke of his belief in the plans.

He said: “We are confident that this plan will greatly improve the town, while retaining its character.

“This planning application is an important first step in delivering a more vibrant town centre, and will bring considerable benefits to residents and businesses.”

The old county offices, which were built in 1929 are a well-known feature in the town.

And although they are not listed, the popular facade is thought to be an important 
feature to retain in the plans.

Mr Tett added: “A decision has yet to be taken on the future use of the building, but we are currently carrying out a viability study to examine the best options.”

Access to the new car park will be from Exchange Street and some, but not all, of the old police station buildings, which have been empty for ten years, would be demolished.

If the plans get the go ahead the building which sits immediately on the corner of Exchange Street and Walton Street will remain, while the council explores how it can be used in the future.

The news comes after a string of improvements in Aylesbury town centre. Nando’s and Wagamama opened restaurants in units surrounding the Exchange Street car park, while Sainsbury’s plans to build a superstore in Gatehouse Road and redevelop the area surrounding their existing store were approved

 

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