Gosport team bids to coax shoppers back to High Street

BOOST Gosport High Street
BOOST Gosport High Street
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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DEDICATED shopkeepers and residents have been coming up with ways to make their high street thrive again.

Gosport Borough Council asked residents, shopkeepers and market traders to form a group to help the town’s shops.

And the people who came together to form the Gosport Town Team have started work.

The volunteers have come up with dozens of ideas on how to boost the image of their town centre, from advertisements to ‘I Love Gosport’ carrier bags.

Brian Russell, of the Gosporteers, is a member of the new Gosport Town Team.

He said: ‘It’s not all doom and gloom and we are on a high because there are a lot of ideas being thrown around.

‘There is a real commitment to develop the High Street.

‘It’s early days as to what will exactly happen but a number of areas are being looked at.’

The team has split into five groups to concentrate on different areas.

They are: research and planning; empty units; dwell time – the length of time shoppers spend in the high street; marketing and communications and environment and access.

Mr Russell is part of a team looking at researching why people visit Gosport High Street – and why they don’t.

He added: ‘Although the council has done surveys on footfall there is no indication as to why people are there.

‘It’s vital information.’

Last month Gosport lost out in the second and final round of bids to become a Mary Portas pilot town.

It would have seen the town given special measures to test out on the shopping centre in a bid to bring people back. Nevertheless, the government awarded Gosport a £100,000 cash boost earlier this year for the same purpose.

And the Gosport Town Team has been asked to help choose how to spend it.

Other ideas put forward by the group include putting photographs or children’s artwork in the front windows of empty shops.

The group hopes that over time people from larger chain stores, banks and estate agents will join in the discussions.