The Ascot community will be invited to shape the town’s rejuvenation, by getting involved in preparing an important new planning document that will support improvements to the High Street and guide future development.
Over the coming months, the council will speak with local residents, community groups, businesses and other partners to produce a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), complementing the vision already set in planning policy.
The Borough Local Plan includes a high-level vision to rejuvenate Ascot as a vibrant place for the community, with an improved High Street and high-quality new development that is well integrated into Ascot and protects its green and leafy character. New development in Ascot will be focused on the High Street.
The next step is working with the community to prepare the SPD, which will provide more detailed advice to guide developers in shaping planning applications and the council in deciding them, and will set out proposals to improve the High Street. The SPD will also help ensure development in the area, and the infrastructure needed to support it, happens in a coordinated and comprehensive way.
Community engagement will happen in phases during summer and autumn 2023. It will provide a chance for people to discuss their priorities and aspirations for Ascot and its future development, as well as options for improving the High Street, strengthening sustainable travel and connectivity with the railway station via Station Hill and with the wider placemaking area.
This will start initially with conversations with a representative group of key local stakeholders, who will help to shape ideas and High Street concepts, prior to conversations with businesses and workshops for the wider community in early autumn. Details of how to get involved in the community workshops will be announced in the coming weeks.
These community insights will help to shape a draft SPD, which will then be subject to formal public consultation in early 2024 before being considered by Cabinet. This finalised document will include a preferred option for improving the High Street, as well as design guidance and a high level masterplan to assist developers.
Councillor Adam Bermange, Cabinet member for Planning, Legal and Asset Management, said: “As Ascot evolves into the future, we need to enhance the town centre as a high-quality, distinctive, and sustainable place to live, spend leisure time and do business.
“With the rebuilt hospital, more housing, including social housing, and commercial spaces being built in the coming years, we want to make sure these developments are shaped by the whole community. The SPD is a key stage in the process. The thoughts of people living or working in Ascot are vital to shaping and finalising a strong vision for Ascot's future.
“We need your help to rejuvenate Ascot as a vibrant place for the benefit of the community and people from all walks of life, with an improved and thriving High Street and high-quality new developments that add to the quality of life in the town.
“Over the coming months, we will be having conversations with the community to ensure we fully capture and understand the key considerations, priorities and aspirations. The finalised SPD will be an important consideration when deciding future planning applications, alongside the existing Borough Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan.”