THE THIRTIETH birthday of a shopping centre was celebrated in style.
Locks Heath Shopping Village was built in 1983 with a vision of creating a community-focused area with grocers, butchers, a library and chemist.
Thirty years on and the centre has managed to buck the national trend, with a total of 31 independent shops and a thriving trade.
Eight local schools helped to design a giant Happy Birthday banner.
At five metres long, it featured children’s colourful artwork.
The shopping village was full of market stalls, street entertainment and a giant pass the parcel game was held.
Looking on proudly was Hugh Pritchard, who helped to design the shopping village in 1983 in his role as a local councillor and vice-chairman of the Soland Plan Society.
The society was formed in 1971 to help improve standards of living as the western wards of Fareham were undergoing major development.
He said: ‘When you are a councillor it’s hard to achieve a lot and you seldom get any thanks.
‘But here we have got bricks and mortar that people enjoy every day, not just for shopping.
‘That’s a small sense of achievement. Thirty years on and it’s still here.’
Susan Bayford, Mayor of Fareham and a local councillor for Locks Heath, said: ‘It’s been absolutely fabulous.
‘The atmosphere is great and we had a wonderful pass the parcel with 30 presents to represent the 30 years.
‘Not many places can offer so much variety.’
Local Scout groups were there, mingling with the crowds and promoting their work.
Sally Nicholas, Explorer Scout leader, said: ‘It’s got better.
‘It’s got everything you could possibly need in one place.’
Alison Kiln, 42, from Portchester, was selling her home-made toys – called Sock Monkeys – on a stall.
She said: ‘It’s a great community event bringing people together.’
Ian Goodridge, manager of the shopping village, said: ‘It serves the community and has done for 30 years.
‘We have had a Costa Coffee coming in which has been well-received.
‘Morrisons have signed up to come in but the plans have not been approved yet.
‘That would be built very sympathetically to support all the independent retailers.’