A wishlist of improvements to Aylesbury town centre has been put forward by an influential civic group.
The Aylesbury Society says its ideas would bring more visitors to the town and help the local economy.
The district and county councils are currently working on the Waterside scheme, which includes a new restaurant hub, apartments and town square near the Odeon cinema.
However, the society believes that with Aylesbury’s population set to massively grow, there’s scope for further development and enhancements in the town.
Their proposals include:
> A new indoor ‘winter garden shopping complex’ based on Covent Garden. It would have a domed roof with tropical plants inside and could house pop-up shops and food stalls and a Christmas market. The society said: “We have a wide range of ethnic groups in Aylesbury... and these would add a colourful mix to the traders in the complex. An indoor soft play area, and a large reception room and venue for events that used to take place at the Civic Centre/ Aston Hall would be a popular addition.” It could be located at the back of Old County Hall or Hale Leys.
> A complete redesign of the area outside the Waterside Theatre. The society said it currently presents ‘a very bland, and uninteresting approach to the theatre’: “This area should be completely redesigned to make it accessible to the public, with flower beds, trees and seating.” An information board raising awareness of the flora and fauna of the area is also proposed, alongside a drop-off point in front of the theatre for coaches and disabled theatre-goers.
> Duck-themed gateways on the main roads into Aylesbury. The society said Aylesbury is ‘specifically identifed with ducks’ but at present the approach roads into town are marked by white gates. These should be replaced by ‘large wooden ducks to clearly identify that you are now entering the town of Aylesbury’.
> A canal basin festival. With the new-look canal basin behind the theatre, the society says a canal boat festival should be organised, similar to the open day recently held at the Circus Fields canal basin. In addition, ‘the Mikron theatre company should be invited to present one of their shows’ there.
The ideas were first put forward by member Ken Evans and adopted by the group after a debate at committee.
Honorary Secretary Roger King said: “We hope [town planners] will embrace our ideas and put them into future plans.”
Head of commercial property and regeneration at AVDC, Teresa Lane, said : “The existing Aylesbury Town Centre Improvement Plan, which was developed with the input of many different stakeholders, sets out the vision for the town of Aylesbury, together with a wide range of actions.
“Everyone involved will need to think carefully about the logistics behind any new proposals, and we will definitely be contacting the Aylesbury Society to discuss their ideas in more depth.”