CALLS are being made for the city council to focus its attentions on a shopping street in the centre of Portsmouth.
It follows the closure of long-standing cafe Fagins, which was in Charlotte Street for more than 20 years.
The cafe closed earlier this summer following the owner’s retirement and it is currently being refurbished by a new owner, who hopes to open it later this month with a new look and name – Jenny’s.
Ward councillor Stephen Morgan said: ‘I have fond memories from being a customer as a child at Fagins Cafe.
‘It is a real shame to see this long-established local business being lost from our high street.
‘With improvements now being planned for other parts of the city centre shopping precinct, I’ve called for a wider strategy to ensure greater investment in new jobs, transport infrastructure and improvements to our retail and leisure offer in the heart of Portsmouth. Such a strategy must include improvements to encourage trade in Charlotte Street.’
Fellow ward councillor Paul Godier said: ‘I have been in there on and off over the years.
‘A lot of people used Fagins and it was a well-established community cafe. It is a shame to see it go. They have been in that part of the city for a long time.’
He added: ‘The council is very aware that it needs to improve its shopping precincts and it is negotiations at the moment.
‘I do agree that Charlotte Street used to be vibrant and it needs a bit of attention to get it buzzing again.’
A spokeswoman from H&S Jewellers, who didn’t want to be named, said they had witnessed a rise in crime and anti-social behaviour along the street.
The jewellers has been in Charlotte Street for more than 25 years.
She said: ‘More should be done. It is run down and we have seen a marked difference in the past 18 months. There needs to be more security and we need a tidy up. Hopefully the new cafe will bring more people along here.’
Charlotte Street was once home to Portsmouth’s market, before the Tricorn was demolished in 2004.
Since then the street has seen several shops come and go, and is now home to charity shops, an army surplus shop, a funeral parlour, Ponden Home interiors and several Chinese cafes.