A MULTI-MILLION-POUND scheme to build a new budget hotel and retail units at a Hampshire shopping centre has been unveiled by developers.
The Daily Echo can reveal that there are provisional plans for a £25-30m scheme at Whiteley Shopping Centre in consultation with owners British Land which will create hundreds of new jobs for the area.
The provisional plans will see a six-storey, 90-bed budget hotel, thought to be a Travelodge, along with a multi-storey car park and several new restaurant and retail units be built.
Neil Carter, manager at Whiteley Shopping Centre, confirmed the plans, saying: “We are reviewing options to continue to improve Whitley’s retail, food and drink and leisure offer for customers.
“Whiteley continues to go from strength to strength and we are engaging with key stakeholders to look at options.”
Whiteley Shopping Centre reopened in May 2013 after an £84m redevelopment.
The original outlet centre at Whiteley failed to compete with shopping centres in Southampton and Portsmouth and was demolished in 2011.
Units at the centre are now occupied by high-street brands as well as local and independent retailers.
Maureen Frost, chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This expansion will cement Whitley’s position as an attractive destination for shoppers and for leisure. “Public transport is limited so we endorse the need for the proposed additional car parking but would also seek assurance that the local road network around the business parks can cope with the predicted additional traffic the enlarged scheme will generate.”
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, welcomed the investment, saying: “It will certainly benefit the area and boost the local economy.
Owners British Land have always had more land than they needed which could have been used for future developments, which they are now using.”
“However, car parking and traffic flow need to be addressed – car parking demand is outstripping supply, forcing many staff and shoppers to park in residential streets.”
The plans were due to go on show at a public exhibition last weekend but the event was delayed after discussions between British Land and Whiteley Town Council.
Mike Evans, the chair of the town council, said: “The consultation process included preliminary plans for a public exhibition on May 12 and 13 however, due to the need for further work and revisions it was agreed with the co-ownership that this should be postponed until later in the year.
“It is most unfortunate that some illustrations from a draft consultation leaflet have been published on V4W (Voice for Whitley website) and that a number of incorrect assumptions are being made.
“I can assure you that plans for the exhibition will be publicised and circulated to residents in due course.”
Further announcements will be expected towards the end of the year centre owners British Land.