Fears Locks Heath superstore could lead to a drop in shoppers

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THE Locks Heath development will drive people away from the village centre, according to the Co-op supermarket.

Plans for a new supermarket and shopping centre in Locks Heath have prompted the Co-op to step in with a counter-proposal.

Fareham Borough Council is proposing to regenerate Locks Heath District Centre by building a new fitness centre, swimming pool and large supermarket.

All the council’s proposals include a large superstore on what previously was green space.

But the Co-op, which has been in Centre Way for almost 30 years, has warned that this would damage existing retailers and drive away footfall.

Operations manager for the Co-operative Locks Heath store Nigel Wicks said: ‘We’ve spoken to other retailers and they, like us, have concerns about the impact of the large new store that’s being proposed for the edge of the district centre.

‘We’ve drawn up our own alternative plan, which we think would be better for Locks Heath and we intend to gauge the opinions of local shoppers.’

The Co-operative will be inviting people to comment on its alternative scheme, which could include an extension to their own shop.

Martin Dowse, from nearby HM Fine Arts, said: ‘I look forward to seeing their counter-proposal.

‘As a resident, having a leisure centre and a library would be warmly welcomed.

‘We do want to maintain the village atmosphere but at the same time we want to attract people here.’

Del Taylor, of Alexander Hadleigh Wine Merchants, said: ‘We’ve been trading from the centre for nearly 12 years and have seen a vast increase in the community feel which we strongly feel would be lost if a larger food store was to be built.’

Leader of Fareham Borough Council Sean Woodward said: ‘We welcome any proposals that will improve the centre. We would be only too pleased to hear from the Co-op and discuss the proposal.’

The Co-op’s proposed plan will be on display at Lockswood Community Centre, Centre Way, Locks Heath, on Wednesday, November 21 from midday to 7pm and on Thursday, 22 November from 9am to 1pm.