Gosport set for new retail support officer

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MEMBERS of Gosport’s Town Team have voted to employ a town centre and retail support officer at a cost of £44,000.

At the first meeting since their election, held on Tuesday afternoon and attended by Caroline Dinenage MP, the Town Team agreed on the creation of the new role.

As previously reported in The News, the Town Team – made up of local business, shop owners and residents – was established and then members were elected to lead the regeneration of the High Street.

The officer will give the team advice, support with administration and liaise with businessesto help implement the team’s action plan.

He or she will be funded with £20,000 from the High Street Innovation Fund, a £100,000 pot of cash the team have access to, along with £24,000 from Gosport Borough Council.

The successful applicant will be paid between £25,000 to £29,000 and will split their time working with the Town Team and retailers in both Stokes Road and Lee-on-the-Solent.

Graham Jacobs, a chartered surveyor and owner of Trafalgar Property Consultancy, in Frankton Way, was chosen as chairman of the team at the meeting and said the officer would be a point of contact in the community.

He said: ‘It’s a crucial role because it’s never been done before and we’re in changing times and we need someone to be there day to day, identifying opportunities.’

Siobhan Flynn, principal economic prosperity officer at Gosport Borough Council, said the role would last for one year, and if it could be sustained with funds from private businesses, it may develop into a town centre manager position. The meeting on Tuesday also saw the approval of a Town Team logo, which will feature on signs in the High Street and on stickers in empty shops, when the team gets permission from landlords to tidy the properties.