Blighted areas of Southampton can be turned round says Denham

BACKING: Woolston traders supporting the Shop Local campaign, Chris Maunder and Carey Turner at Woolston Fruit and Veg. Echo picture by Malcolm Nethersole. Order no: 8291045

MP offers hope of trade revival

First published in News

A CITY MP will meet traders and residents today to revive the fortunes of a Southampton community.

Itchen MP John Denham wants to discuss how the Woolston district centre can be vibrant and attractive to shoppers and visitors when shops cease trading.

At least 15 stores have closed in the retail district within the past 18 months. Only a couple have been replaced.

But Mr Denham, the Cabinet minister for university and skills, insists new Government cash and council powers can help Woolston survive the recession.

Empty shops could be transformed into new community advice centres, new spaces for arts and crafts, new premises for small start-up businesses, community cafes, and spaces for social enterprises and the voluntary sector, the Labour MP said.

Only last month a group of Woolston traders threw their weight behind the Daily Echo’s Shop Local campaign which encourages residents to support the traders in their area.

Mr Denham said: “Woolston has been particularly hard hit with the move from the area of Vosper Thorneycroft. Empty shops can be eyesores or crime magnets.

“Our ideas for reviving town centres will give communities like Woolston the know-how to temporarily transform vacant premises into something innovative for the community.” Woolston councillor Carol Cunio has already presented a petition from 300 residents and shopkeepers to the Tory run city council urging it to provide more support to the shopping area. Fellow ward councillors have been lobbying for better signage for nearby free parking, quicker collection of rubbish bags, and a discount in business rates for Woolston traders.

Cabinet member for economic development Royston Smith welcomed some of the ideas but said the Government needed to release public funding to restart stalled regeneration projects in the city, such as at Woolston Riverside, that would create sustainable jobs and business.

He said the council was offering six to 12 month leases for alternative uses of council owned shop units. The meeting is due to be held at 12.30pm in St Mark’s Institute, Victoria Road.

Comments (6)

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9:31am Sat 16 May 09

Red & White Never Blue says...

This all should have been thought about when we knew vospers were moving to "skatesville" It's obvious that them going would have a knock on affect for Woolstons shops etc. Hurry up and get the building work on the way on the old vospers site and maybe that would attract more busines for everyone concerned. Everything in our city seems to take far to long to come to fruition ifb it ever does. Local Authorities, Planning control,Investors, Objecters etc etc STOP **** ABOUT AND GET ON WITH MAKING THIS ALREADY GREAT CITY EVEN BETTER
This all should have been thought about when we knew vospers were moving to "skatesville" It's obvious that them going would have a knock on affect for Woolstons shops etc. Hurry up and get the building work on the way on the old vospers site and maybe that would attract more busines for everyone concerned. Everything in our city seems to take far to long to come to fruition ifb it ever does. Local Authorities, Planning control,Investors, Objecters etc etc STOP **** ABOUT AND GET ON WITH MAKING THIS ALREADY GREAT CITY EVEN BETTER Red & White Never Blue
  • Score: 0

9:32am Sat 16 May 09

fatboy says...

These MP's expenses are getting out of hand:
why my BNP MP spent £40,000 on white sheets, petrol, crosses and rope, I'll never know.
These MP's expenses are getting out of hand: why my BNP MP spent £40,000 on white sheets, petrol, crosses and rope, I'll never know. fatboy
  • Score: 0

10:30am Sat 16 May 09

Ian24 says...

The best thing for Woolston is to keep the MP's out of the area. Money will only get wasted on expensive feasibility studies and highly paid regeneration consultants brough in form outside the area. Master plans will get drawn up then the council will announce the masterplans to be unfeasible and regeneration is only an option if the area is knocked down and built again which then will not happen.
Money will be wasted and the area will not regenerate if they get involved, just take a look at how they messed up the ST Marys regeneration.
The best thing for Woolston is to keep the MP's out of the area. Money will only get wasted on expensive feasibility studies and highly paid regeneration consultants brough in form outside the area. Master plans will get drawn up then the council will announce the masterplans to be unfeasible and regeneration is only an option if the area is knocked down and built again which then will not happen. Money will be wasted and the area will not regenerate if they get involved, just take a look at how they messed up the ST Marys regeneration. Ian24
  • Score: 0

10:31am Sat 16 May 09

Polygonia says...

If only there were a superamrket chain willing to open there, the Co-op is fine but people like more choice.
If only there were a superamrket chain willing to open there, the Co-op is fine but people like more choice. Polygonia
  • Score: 0

10:56am Sat 16 May 09

Bright Spark says...

Polygonia wrote:
If only there were a superamrket chain willing to open there, the Co-op is fine but people like more choice.
Yes, the people of Woolston want more One Stops I expect.
[quote][p][bold]Polygonia[/bold] wrote: If only there were a superamrket chain willing to open there, the Co-op is fine but people like more choice.[/p][/quote]Yes, the people of Woolston want more One Stops I expect. Bright Spark
  • Score: 0

7:08am Mon 18 May 09

sheilad says...

I attended the John Denham meeting which took on board some of the traders grievances. Most of the shops were not represented due perhaps to the bad timing of the meeting.If the idea that an empty shop could be used as an open ideas forum,then all concerned with our regeneration for Woolston could be debated and get us looking forward.
I attended the John Denham meeting which took on board some of the traders grievances. Most of the shops were not represented due perhaps to the bad timing of the meeting.If the idea that an empty shop could be used as an open ideas forum,then all concerned with our regeneration for Woolston could be debated and get us looking forward. sheilad
  • Score: 0

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