On our first visit to Basing View, Basingstoke’s business park, in January 2010, Symon Easton, Cultural Investment Manager at Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, filled us in on to the perception of Basing View in relation to the rest of Basingstoke. He pointed out that despite its gateway location, Basing View formed a bit of an island. This was not so obvious when we visited, as the whole of Basingstoke was under a thick layer of snow. Snow confers a continuity to any landscape and, for one thing, our eyes were riveted to the ground to help our confused body balance negotiate the slippery terrain. However Symon had brought an aerial map of the area and showed us in 2-D how the road, which circles its way through the business park, enables access to the park component but also cuts it from the rest of the town. There are no interconnecting routes, it’s just the one road. There are a number of underpaths which were designed to encourage people to walk to work but the reality is that 80% of the people who work there come by car.
Basing View is also perceived as an aging office district. Basing View was created in the 1970s and was to be nick-named ‘The Dallas of Hampshire’ for its cityscape of high-rise office blocks and shiny glass façades. Today there are a few brand new buildings but a good number of its office stock is obsolete or vacant. If you like the charm of architectural retro and the aesthetic of office buildings, Basing View will most certainly appeal to you.
On reflection, Basing View does look and feel like an island with a stream of cars flowing around it, the footbridge to Eastrop Park, the River Loddon to the South, and the railway line to the North. An island, where the hustle and bustle of its creation and years as the ‘Dallas of Hampshire’ has now been replaced by the tranquil if faded quality of a conservation area. But with the AA building as a beacon visible from all parts of its park, Basing View tells us it can still stir the boat. A regeneration plan has been drawn up and is due to start in 2012. The black double A’s standing out of their yellow frame, are undoubtedly pointing upwards.