It’s patently obvious to all who pass through the North End shopping area that things seem to have taken a downhill turn over the years.
Of course it’s nothing to do with the traders who have steadfastly bitten their tongues and simply carry on regardless in their laudable quest to serve the community, it’s just that part of the city has somehow been given the proverbial cold shoulder when it comes to major investment.
Now independent firms in North End have accused Portsmouth City Council of abandoning them as businesses in the shopping precinct and said they were facing their ‘worst time in 20 years’.
It comes after the council launched a bid to secure a government pot of cash worth £50m, which would be pumped into improving Commercial Road and Fratton Road. Cash from successful bids could be spent on improving public transport to and from the areas, hosting events like markets and creating new public spaces.
However, traders in North End are adamant the money would have had a greater impact on footfall there than in other parts of the city. Sadly, some traders are now considering their futures and wonder ‘is it all worth it?’
It’s an awful scenario for all – the traders, the shoppers plus eventually the council itself which could lose thousands of pounds in business rates if the justifiably angry business owners pull the plug on their shops.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt is on the case now so let’s hope she has enough clout to dig up some cash from somewhere to at least bring North End back to some semblance of it’s former, popular and profitable self. before it slips into a ‘ghost town’ scenario.