When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Plans include a leisure centre, high street shops and restaurants for Locks Heath
11:08am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
THEY are the multi- million pound plans that could transform the heart of a Hampshire community – and create more than 300 new jobs.
The bold new vision for Locks Heath district centre includes a leisure complex with a 25-metre swimming pool, a 71,000 sq ft Morrisons supermarket, new restaurants and high street shops.
If everything goes to plan, the transformation could be complete by 2015 injecting new life into the 1980s shopping area.
The proposals have been drawn up by NewRiver Retail Limited, the owners of the Locks Heath Shopping Village, who say the development will result in an employment bonanza.
It comes just months after more than 1,000 posts were created with the completion of nearby Whiteley Shopping Centre, and this month alone the Daily Echo has reported on the creation of another 850 jobs in Hampshire through various developments and company expansions.
The promise of fresh employment has received a cautious welcome from Hampshire Chamber of Commerce – though bosses say the plans are still at an early stage.
The exact cost of the project has yet to be revealed, though it will run into millions of pounds.
The plans were produced after wide-ranging public consultation by Fareham Borough Council last year on what residents would like to see at the centre.
A key element in the vision is the creation of a purposebuilt leisure and community centre, which will include a 25-metre swimming pool, community hall and library.
And a large ‘anchor’ Morrisons is being lined up in a bid to encourage Locks Heath residents to avoid making trips out of the area for their shopping.
Civic chiefs commissioned research which found 70 per cent of local expenditure on food shopping by residents took place outside the area, with Whiteley, Bursledon, Hedge End and Fareham proving strong draws for shoppers.
New restaurant and retail units will make up the rest of the development.
NewRiver property director Allan Lockhart said: “We aim to respond to the council’s priorities and are excited by the prospect of investing further in Locks Heath Shopping Village which has changed little since it was built in the early 1980s.
“A step change at Locks Heath is overdue to meet the present and future leisure and shopping needs of local residents. We also expect the creation of an estimated 300 new jobs.
“The future success of Locks Heath district centre is an integral part of the community’s economic, social and commercial fabric going forward and there is an excellent opportunity on the basis of the council’s consultation to make a real and decisive step in the right direction.
“Our experience elsewhere is that successful shopping centres depend on a good mix of independent and national retailers and that is the combination we want to achieve at Locks Heath.”
The chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Jimmy Chestnutt, said last night: “It is early days and I think on the face of it, all developments like this sound good – they are meant to sound good. They have highlighted the positives like creating 300 jobs, but there are always local issues – not every community wants a supermarket on its doorstep.
“We will support anything that is correct and ticks all the right boxes like generating jobs and growth – but the local community will have to have a say.”
An exhibition showcasing NewRiver’s vision will take place on Friday 27 between midday and 6pm and the following day between 9.30am and 3.30pm, at the Lockswood Community Centre.
Comments are closed on this article.