Whiteley scheme could hit traders, says Fareham council leader

112208_CAT_MEETING_20/06/11''Fareham Town Council leader, Sean Woodward, speaking at a public meeting at Neville Lovett school, Fareham. ''Community Action Team meeting regarding 7,000 new homes planned for north Fareham. ' 'Picture: Allan Hutchings (112208-841)
112208_CAT_MEETING_20/06/11''Fareham Town Council leader, Sean Woodward, speaking at a public meeting at Neville Lovett school, Fareham. ''Community Action Team meeting regarding 7,000 new homes planned for north Fareham. ' 'Picture: Allan Hutchings (112208-841)
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THE leader of Fareham Borough Council has hit out at plans to extend a new shopping centre in Whiteley – fearing it could affect trading elsewhere.

Developers Whiteley Co-ownership Trust applied for planning permission from Winchester City Council to add an extra mezzanine floor to the £64m development, which is yet to be built.

But Fareham Borough Council has objected to the plans.

It fears that a bigger development will affect the vitality and viability of Fareham town centre and that it is too big to serve the needs of Whiteley.

Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘It’s more than is needed for Whiteley.

‘It was too big before and it will be much too big after this. Whiteley shopping centre was designed to cater for Whiteley which is 3,000 houses.

‘While I welcome getting more traditional high street shops into Whiteley I do think that it’s far too big and after this it will be far, far too big.’

Meanwhile, Cllr Woodward raised concerns about the impact it could have on traders in Fareham.

‘It’s about the impact on the surrounding shopping centres and the impact on people going about their normal business,’ he said.

‘I’m sure residents in Whiteley will welcome the range of shops but I hope they don’t end up ruing the day they can no longer get to the shops or get out of Whiteley.’

The ward councillor for Whiteley, Sam Newman-McKie, said: ‘We have always said that we welcome quality jobs in the area and the new Whiteley will bring those jobs.

‘It’s a difficult balance between that and the extra traffic that’s going to come in.’

A spokesman for the Whiteley Co-Ownership Trust said: ‘The requested additional mezzanine floor space will give retailers the flexibility they require to trade successfully within a quality high street environment.

‘The proposals will help deliver a town centre that residents at Whiteley can be proud of.’

Fareham councillors will discuss the Whiteley scheme at a planning meeting tomorrow night.