SECURING a big retailer while maintaining independent shops is the key to keeping a town centre popular.
That is the message from Caroline Dinenage who says some changes need to be made to Gosport high street to keep it competitive.
Being different is the key to attracting people to Gosport.Caroline Dinenage
The Gosport MP did praise the independent businesses and the work of the town team to get empty units filled.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘Gosport is below the national average for the number of empty shop units.
‘Only six per cent of business units in Gosport are empty.
‘But I do think people in the town would say there’s still a lot of work to do.
‘The town team did a great job at moving retailers into the empty units and the Tuesday and Saturday markets are good.
‘But maybe there is a need for more vibrance and more thought on how to make it better.’
Ms Dinenage added that the trouble with footfall starts with out-of-town shopping centres like Whiteley.
She said offering something different could be the key to bringing new shoppers to Gosport.
It comes as community leaders in Portsmouth warned earlier this week in The News that Portsmouth city centre needs a drastic overhaul if it is to attract residents of the 6,000 homes set to be built in new town Welborne.
Campaigners say action needs to be taken or the Welborne residents will shop elsewhere in places such as Southampton and Winchester.
They believe Portsmouth City Council, retailers and developers need to work up a strategy now – and work out how the Northern Quarter shopping vision can be revived after plans where dropped.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘The key to Gosport getting more shoppers is making it different.
‘I do think it needs a big retailer which would help but a lot of high streets are the same no matter where you go.
‘Being different is the key to attracting people to Gosport.
‘We have got competition in the likes of Whiteley but some times the best competition is to be different.
‘Gosport has got some fantastic independent retailers and small businesses.
‘We need to keep those as well as attracting a big retailer.’