Blueprint agreed to regenerate town centre

Development plans have advanced for two key sites at the heart of Aylesbury.

Councillors have agreed a proposal to regenerate the former Gala Bingo Hall site in High Street and create a new town centre public space.

It is planned to use the site as a temporary new business hub while a scheme is conceived for the site’s long-term future.

It is anticipated that this would be a mixed-use development on the footprint of the current site.

This is all part of an overall £5 million investment in the town centre. It will see a new walkway and ‘public realm’ space installed on the former bingo site, considerably opening up the link between the High Street and the Exchange, improving walking and connections around the town centre – in turn enhancing economic activity.

The council also agreed to escalate long-standing plans to turn the Old County Offices site (pictured) into 46 new homes in the heart of the town, through a developer.

The development does have planning permission but had previously stalled due to market conditions.

However, the council has since successfully won ‘brownfield land release funding’ for the site and attracted a new developer.

The sites are near each another, located next to the current Exchange Street Car Park.

Developing these important sites is a key element of the Aylesbury Regeneration Strategy. This was adopted as part of the overall ‘Regenerating Bucks’ framework agreed by the council last year.

Work has already begun on a range of general town centre improvements, including upgrading lighting and power in Market Square and making permanent some pedestrianised street arrangements introduced during the Covid pandemic.

Rachael Matthews, the council’s deputy cabinet member for town centre regeneration, said: ‘The Gala Bingo site has been sitting empty for years and is in a key location at the heart of the town.

‘It’s always been earmarked for regeneration so it’s great news that we’re in a position to move plans forward for the site.

‘Likewise, it’s also now many years since Old County Offices were vacated and I’m really pleased we’re now in a position to create attractive new homes in the town centre that will be developed in this heritage site.’