TRADERS and shoppers have welcomed new measures to help bring more people in to Fareham.
Fareham Borough Council is looking at new measures to ‘maintain the vibrancy’ of the town centre as part of its ongoing action plan.
It is looking to create a row of linked canopies across an area of Portland Street that is described in a council report as currently being ‘wasted space.’ It could be used for the town’s markets as well as by community groups and during events and is expected to cost £20,00 to install.
The council is also looking at installing 50 cycle racks around the West Street precinct at a cost of £8,000, plus more public seating for a further £20,000.
The council has been looking at ways of improving trade in the town centre, partly in response to the new town centre development in Whiteley, which is due to open in May.
Council leader Cllr Sean Woodward has previously spoken about his concerns that it will take trade away from Fareham,
Paul Raby, owner of The Framing Centre in West Street, said: ‘Whatever they do out there is all for the good and as long as they spend money on the town centre, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
‘The council needs to do something because all of us businesses are panicking a bit about Whiteley.’
Jade Yallop of Nailz Inc in West Street said: ‘Spending money in the town centre is good. They can make it as pretty as they like though, if the businesses aren’t doing well, it’s not going to work.’
Anne Fairhurst, of Miller Drive in Fareham said: ‘I cycle into Fareham almost every time I come here, and if you look around, particularly on market day, you can see that people padlock their bikes to almost anything.
‘It would certainly be much nicer to have somewhere proper to put them.
‘As for the seating, there’s some outside seating at the cafes and coffee shops, but you’ve go to buy something to use those. There’s a lot of elderly people and it would be nicer if there were more places to sit.’
Sue Hunt, of Forest Lane in Wickham, added: ‘Seating is important, especially for the older people who come in to Fareham. I come into Fareham once or twice a week. If I had somewhere safe and secure to leave my bike, that would definitely encourage me to cycle.’