A "BUSY and growing market town" will be getting a makeover in the new year, as part of its £3million ongoing transformation.

Gillingham High Street is set for significant enhancement in February, with plans to improve pavements and resurface the road between South Street and Newbury Roundabout.

Uneven paving in the ‘raised table’ areas and the pavement between Lloyds Bank and Newbury will be replaced with an imprinting technique recently used in Station Road.

This technique – where hot asphalt material is laid and imprinted with a paving effect, aims to reduce trip hazards and is easier to maintain compared to traditional paving.

Some heritage features in the historic part of the town will also be enhanced, including replacing the fence on the footbridge and replacing existing light columns with heritage lamps.

The funding for the works was secured by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Government’s Local Growth Fund, which was then allocated to Dorset Council following its successful bid.

Gillingham's growth project, improving transport infrastructure to support the housing and employment urban extension of the town, began in 2018 with an allocated sum of £3,527,227.

The aim, alongside unlocking the development of up to 1,800 houses and 2,500 jobs, is to make the town a more attractive place to visit, encouraging new shoppers to the area and more residents to shop locally.

The Journal has asked Dorset LEP how much of the £3million sum will be used on the High Street revamp.

Councillor Ray Bryan, portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said: “Over time, the existing materials through High Street have become cracked and uneven, making it difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate the area.

“Renewing this street scene with improved, modern materials will complement the new and ongoing sustainable transport improvements in the town. And together, these enhancements will make walking and cycling a safer and more attractive option for many people.”

Work will start in February 2021, taking around eight weeks to complete.

Dorset LEP director Lorna Carver said: “Gillingham is a busy and growing market town. This urban realm enhancement will help revitalise the High Street.

“This local growth investment will really change the feel of the town centre and aid economic activity and vibrancy.”