Whiteley Shopping Centre sees 1.5m shoppers in 100 days

Report finds average Portsmouth worker needs 103 per cent pay rise to afford a mortgage

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TOMORROW will see Whiteley Shopping Village celebrate 100 days since its rebirth.

Television and West End star Denise Van Outen cut the ribbon on the centre on May 23, following an £84m development.

Neil Carter, Whiteley Shopping Centre manager

Neil Carter, Whiteley Shopping Centre manager

It marked a change in fortunes for Whiteley, which first opened in the 90s as an outlet village before struggling to cope with the economic downturn and being sold off.

But in the 99 days since it has opened, more than 1.5m shoppers have already paid a visit to the site, nestled off the M27 at junction nine.

Centre manager Neil Carter also says the scheme is around 95 per cent let, with the centre on target to be fully occupied by this Christmas.

Whiteley’s location, close to the village development, mean some of those visitors are local people, who visit the shops maybe two or three times per week.

But Neil’s team conducted a survey of more than 1,000 shoppers, which found not everyone was from the area.

‘We found there are some people who do travel from further afield, who maybe visit us once a week.

‘We are very convenient here.’

However, Neil and his team are not resting on their laurels.

He said: ‘We should be fully occupied by Christmas, and then we will be building a restaurant for Yo Sushi.

‘It will be oval, so really striking.

‘That should be complete in January, and then we will turn our attention to the cinema extension.

‘That’s going to be a nine-screen cinema, so it’ll have everything, all the new releases.

‘It’s going to be run by Cineworld, which should be excellent.’

The plan is also to include other leisure activities underneath the cinema, with ideas including a bowling alley, bars, and even somewhere to play mini-golf.

‘There are so many good ideas about what to put there,’ said Neil. ‘That development will finish us off, and should open in spring 2015.

‘That will be us done and completely full then.’