Waterlooville town centre regeneration efforts see plans for better branding and more shops as residents are updated

The progress on revitalising Waterlooville Town Centre has been revealed – including efforts to try and fill empty shops.
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After a public meeting which attracted around 170 local residents, Havant Borough Council members and business representatives shared updates on the progress of their regeneration efforts and the challenges the project is facing.

A spokesperson for the council explained that a major focus of the meeting was the selection of a contractor to craft a town masterplan, planned for completion by March next year.This master plan will not only communicate the council’s intentions but also provide a clear vision for development, which can attract potential investors and empower the council to acquire properties in the town centre.

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The presentation also shed light on “shorter-term initiatives” aimed at enhancing the town centre’s appearance and increasing footfall. These initiatives include hanging baskets, planters, and banners to create a distinctive “Waterlooville branding theme,” uniting historical elements and famous figures to create a unique identity.

Artist's impression of Wellington WayArtist's impression of Wellington Way
Artist's impression of Wellington Way

Additionally, the town is set to introduce parklets, designated areas for seating and greenery, with funding already allocated for their implementation in early 2024.

One crucial aspect of the town’s revival plan is addressing the issue of empty shops. To support local businesses in renovating these commercial spaces, the council has earmarked £140,000. It has received 30 expressions of interest, with over half encouraged to submit full applications, which are currently under review.

However, the council faces significant challenges, primarily the limited public ownership of property and land in the town centre, much of which is owned by institutional investors. Other hurdles include obtaining necessary permissions for land alterations from Hampshire County Council and attracting well-known retailers to the area.

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Waterlooville has been hit in the past few years after key retailers such as Waitsode, Peacocks, New Look, Game and most recently Wilko was lost from the town centre. Recently development has also been focused away from the town centre itself with businesses favouring retail parks just outside.

Despite vocal support in the community for a new leisure facility near the Lidl shop there has also been no business come forward with a proposal.