FOR years Waterlooville has been seen as a town of two halves.
In one part there is the old high street, dogged by shop closures and empty units.
It is believed to suffer as the other half, Wellington Retail Park, prospers with large new shops opening and retail giants such as TK Maxx, Marks and Spencer and soon, Sainsbury’s, moving in.
They have been separated by busy Maurepas Way with the local authorities not being able to afford to build a bridge joining the two parts of the town.
But yesterday a new pedestrian and cycle ramp was unveiled in Waterlooville thanks to Sainsbury’s.
When permission was granted for the huge new store two years-ago planners at Havant Borough Council successfully negotiated a new bridge as part of the conditions.
It significantly improves the link to the town centre from the retail park which it is hoped will increase traffic to the older, smaller shops.
It is linked to a controlled crossing over Maurepas Way to provide a safe crossing point for pedestrians and cyclists.
Until now the only safe access across the road was by an underpass which was difficult to negotiate for older and disabled people.
Sainsbury’s project manager, Daren Carpenter, said: ‘We are pleased to be able to provide a new ramp as part of our store development programme.
‘The ramp will help to link two important areas of the town and benefit the local community for years to come.’
Councillor Gary Kerrin, who represents Stakes ward on Havant Borough Council, said: ‘I’m very glad this has finally been built.
‘I personally feel this will help join up the town. It also looks very nice.’
The new Sainsbury’s, off Hambledon Road, is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
RG Group, Sainsbury’s contractors, has recently begun construction of a new storage area for Acorn Community Centre.
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