MULTI-million pound plans to extend a retail park in Havant have been approved.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve plans that will see 3.6 acres of land off Solent Road being redeveloped and a large store built alongside the existing Solent Retail Park.
Developer Hargreaves Properties Ltd is now set to build a two-storey unit of more than 80,000sq ft on the site, with space for 240 cars to park.
A retailer has not been revealed yet, but council leaders are hoping a large national chain will move on to the site.
Buildings currently on the land will be demolished.
They are Pizza Hut, Solent Cleaners, Motomex garage, EMP Tooling Services and Havant Motor Factors.
Some of these firms are expected to relocate across the road to a new trade park – also owned by Hargreaves – which was granted planning permission earlier this year.
When considering the proposals, planning officers stressed that the ‘primary shopping area’ of Havant now also included Solent Retail Park and Tesco.
Extra signs will be put in to help link the development with the east side of the town.
But some traders were worried the older part of Havant was missing out.
Sasha Farmer, who works in La Bonne Baguette, said: ‘We need more shops in the centre. There’s so many bare shops and they need to be filled.’
The new store will create 130 jobs.
Cllr David Guest, who is in charge of planning and regeneration, said: ‘It’s going to transform the remainder of Solent Road for the long term and it will look so much better and provide long-term employment. It’s very encouraging to see big developers investing in sites like that.’
He said one way the council was looking to regenerate the high street was to get more people living in the town centre.
He added: ‘It’s not a question of not wanting to get the town centre developed and get them busy – that’s exactly what we want to do.’