Team support plan to continue Gosport town centre officer role

GOOD WORK Gosport's Town Team vice-chair Lin Wilson
GOOD WORK Gosport's Town Team vice-chair Lin Wilson
Helen Burch at her Southsea home, but still waiting for a bed Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A TEAM of residents and traders in Gosport last night backed plans to continue employing a town centre officer.

It comes as Gosport’s Town Team also makes progress towards setting up a retailer-only town centre association.

As reported, the team has access to a fund of £110,000, and last year agreed to create the support role, which was due to end early next year.

But last night’s meeting saw around half of its elected members vote to extend the job position for a further year.

The proposal is yet to be approved as not enough elected members of the team were at last night’s meeting at the Gosport Discovery Centre.

Lin Wilson, who runs Solent Leisure, is vice-chair of the team.

She said: ‘The consensus when it was proposed was really good.

‘Everyone said they wanted the Town Team to carry on because of all the good work that has already gone. The next big thing is the town centre association, and that’s why we want to carry it on.’

Clive Garner, of surveyor Garner Wood, added: ‘It’s a very positive idea, and as far as I’m concerned it’s the way forward.’

In total it will cost £37,000 to continue to employ the officer for a further year.

Funding for the post will come partly from the Town Team’s High Street Innovation fund, and partly from Department for Communities and Local Government cash.

But it is hoped the officer will help set up a subscription town centre association by next May, along with attracting other sources of income.

Members will pay to join the association.

Sam Hetherington, the town centre officer employed by Gosport Borough Council, won praise from members of the team at the meeting.

Karen Goodwin, who runs Goodwin Studio, in North Cross Street, Gosport, spoke to The News afterwards.

She said: ‘We as a town team have the ideas ... but we don’t have the time to implement everything.

‘She (Sam) has brought everything together.’

The meeting also heard three out of 12 applications for the empty unit grants scheme had progressed to the second phase.

Grants of £7,000 are available to firms.