NEW cash to boost a Hampshire town will be concentrated on helping independent traders, a council boss has promised.

Fareham Borough Council has pledged £100,000 to improving the town centre – matching another £100,000 grant given by the Government.

The pledges come as a brand new £64m shopping centre prepares to open in nearby Whiteley.

But council leader Sean Woodward, pictured, says he is confident that the £200,000 can be used to boost trade in Fareham . He said: “Fareham town centre is performing well at the moment, but I’m conscious of the fact that Whiteley is opening a centre, and that’s for more than Whiteley residents.

“It’s going to have to seek to draw people in from outside Whiteley, so we may need to up our game.”

The majority of the money is set to be spent on improving West Street, where most of the town’s independent shops are situated.

Parking charges will be reviewed, there will be a new website for traders and a “destination” at the end of the street will be created to entice shoppers into the area.

Councillor Woodward added: “We have got a large covered shopping area with standard high street shops, and then we have got West Street, which is a long street with a lot of independent shops. That area isn’t as popular as it might be – people tend to come and park right next to the shopping centre and never make the journey into West Street.

“We’re going to set up a website where every trader will have a page free of charge. We’ll also be looking at what sort of destination we can produce at the westerly end of West street, so shoppers would use those independent shops. Maybe that will be some kind of leisure or community facility that would draw people up to that end of town. I think we can make differences with this money.”

The council will discuss an “action plan” for the town centre at a meeting next month.