NEARLY 125 jobs will be created as an extension to a shopping centre is close to opening.
A new cinema and six restaurants at Whiteley Shopping Centre will have the roles on offer, on top of the 35 The News revealed yesterday.
This is really great news for the shopping centre and the people of WhiteleyShopping Centre manager Neil Carter
Currently, about 1,300 people work at Whiteley and shopping centre manager Neil Carter said the rise in jobs is fantastic.
‘This is really great news for the shopping centre and the people of Whiteley,’ he said.
‘We employ more than 1,000 people already so to add to that is fantastic.
‘It’s quite a big boost to our employment.’
The nine-screen Cineworld cinema and six restaurants, which includes a Nando’s and Coast to Coast, are due to open over the same weekend in November. Other new food outlets include Five Guys, Dim T, Wildwood Kitchen and Pizza Express.
Mr Carter added: ‘When we first opened Whiteley Shopping Centre, we always hoped it would do well.
‘We were confident it would be successful because we knew we had a good range of retail shops, coffee shops and restaurants.
‘But with the cinema and the new restaurants which are part of that extension, we now have an even better range.
‘We have picked a really good mix of retail units and now we have the variety of restaurants to go with that too. With Cineworld and climbing wall firm Rock Up! there is a lot for families.’
For the opening of the extension, Whiteley Shopping Centre worked with charity the Prince’s Trust to train 11 young people in hospitality.
After spending three weeks learning about a range of things from customer service to food hygiene, the young people, aged 16 to 24, will have the chance to go for an interview at the restaurants.
Two of the 11 have already accepted placements at ones already within the shopping centre.
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council and a resident of Whiteley, said the jobs boost is good for the area.
‘It’s very good that there is the extra facility to offer more jobs,’ he said.
‘Creating that many is good for employment in the area.’
But Cllr Woodward did raise concerns over the extra traffic the jobs might cause.
He added: ‘Already there is queued traffic to get into Whiteley at lunchtime and in the evenings.
‘I hope for the sake of the residents of Whiteley that the new employees find alternative ways to get there rather than drive.’
As previously reported in The News Whiteley Shopping Centre is also looking to welcome a Poundland.
It was announced last month that the discount store was opening a branch in Whiteley making it the first single-price value retailer to open at the centre.
Poundland is following the footsteps of Specsavers and stationery store Smiggle which opened stores there this summer.