It was a very low-key birthday: there was no cake or balloons, and no party poppers were pulled.

Three years on from its grand opening and promises of more to come, business just went on as normal in The Shed.

The landmark in Bordon’s ‘new town centre’ was opened three years ago on June 1 to great fanfare and pledges of a new supermarket, health hub and Sergeant’s Mess by summer 2023.

Love or loathe The Shed, there’s no denying it continues to draw shoppers, start-ups and foodies, with more than one million visitors over the last 36 months. It remains home to 25 local businesses and its occupancy rates are above the national levels.

“Local fledgling businesses” like Rebel’s Quarter have made a good fist out of the move with outlets including Acorn’s Café and 350 Burger.

The Shed Bordon
More than one million people have visited The Shed since the Bordon landmark opened in June 2021. (Tindle)

And although they’re now relocating to Farnham, the team at Hermanos have claimed The Shed was intrinsic to their success. They have outgrown their space but acknowledge the role the building played in growing its business.

“We sincerely hope our unit in The Shed will be taken on by another young and excited independent business and make the same connections in the community,” said its Alton owners.

The WBRC accepts it’s been a difficult ride for some firms and not everyone has been successful amid a “challenging economic environment”.

The Shed opened at the tail end of the pandemic while the impacts of the Ukraine war, cost of living crisis and increased inflation have been tough.

There also have been claims the owners haven’t made things easy. Dylan’s Ice cream – an East Hampshire success story with parlours in Haslemere and now Petersfield – opened the latter a few days before closing its unit in The Shed.

Its founder Ben Govier criticised the WBRC for not turning on the heating during the winter, with complaints often made from the public about the hot/cold conditions.

Dylan's Ice Cream Petersfield
Ben Govier of Dylan's Ice Cream, who opened a branch in Petersfield while closing their outlet in The Shed. Complaints about heating in winter were the "final straw" with hints of more discontent behind the scenes. (Tindle/Paul Ferguson)

So it will be interesting to see how Jude’s fare with the Hampshire firm opening its first branded ‘bricks and mortar’ outlet in The Shed around the same time as Dylan’s departure.

Early feedback has been very positive with its award-winning ice cream and “treats for all the family” getting rave reviews.

It’s also worth noting The Shed also offers a packed calendar of events from markets and music festivals to film nights, in-keeping with its aim of being a “multi-purpose facility”.

But aside from the adjacent leisure centre, it still stands alone amid a wall of advertising hoardings and undeveloped land, a taste of a promised future that’s yet to come amid growing frustration and apathy.

“The combination of food, drink, music, theatre, comedy, workspaces, major events and celebrations has contributed to the evolution of the town and has become an intrinsic part of the community,” said James Child, project lead at WBRC.

“We look forward to the future as we are close to realising the town’s ambitions for the next phase with a food store, more shopping and health facilities.”