Let’s make the Gosport High Street great again, traders tell council

CASH INJECTION Shoppers in Gosport High Street. ''Picture: Steve Reid (122011-157)
CASH INJECTION Shoppers in Gosport High Street. ''Picture: Steve Reid (122011-157)
From left, University of Portsmouth head of brand strategy and corporate communications Emma Fields, Portsmouth FC commercial director Anna Mitchell, university governor and former Portsmouth FC President David Willan, football club CEO Mark Catlin and university vice chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith

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IDEAS on how to revive Gosport’s town centre are starting to take shape.

Shopkeepers were last night given the chance to talk to Gosport Borough Council’s top officers at an open meeting.

It comes after Gosport was awarded a £100,000 grant from the government as part of a bid to boost struggling high streets.

Traders, residents and landlords were invited to meet the council to have a say on what should be done with the cash.

And after a two hour discussion they could put themselves forward to join a new ‘town team’ which will help spend the money.

Charlie Jacob-Gray runs a cake-making business and will open her first shop in North Cross Street in a few weeks time.

She said: ‘I think the money should go towards a grant scheme for entrepreneurs who want to open up shops.

‘And I think a town team is a good idea because everybody needs to get together.

‘I was really surprised how many people turned up to the meeting and it just shows how many people are committed to seeing the town progress.’

At the meeting last night was the council’s chief executive, Ian Lycett, head of economic prosperity, Lynda Dine and Siobhan Flynn, the principle economic development officer.

It was held at the Gosport Discovery Centre where dozens of people turned up to have a say.

Other ideas included using the money to fund a business rate relief fund, paying for temporary signs over empty shop windows, and providing grants to fledgling traders.

Mr Lycett said: ‘We were very pleased with the amount of people who turned up and I thought they showed a lot of enthusiasm.

‘There is a real community here and I thought there were a lot of excellent ideas.

‘When you walk down the high street you can see we have an awful lot to offer.’

The council will now invite those who put themselves forward to join the town team to attend another meeting.

Maggie Allington, who runs Weddings of Distinction, in North Cross Street, said: ‘Gosport is a great place and it’s worth doing something about.

‘What there hasn’t been any of is apathy from people.

The council should be applauded for giving us the opportunity to do this.’