MORE than £350,000 will be spent on transforming the northern gateway to Havant.
Hambledon Parade is a row of thriving shops at the north of Waterlooville. But for years there have been problems with parking, and even road rage incidents, because of the bad road layout.
Now Havant Borough Council is looking into two options after setting aside £352,000 from developer contributions, which have been welcomed by traders who say it can’t come soon enough.
The parade is off Hambledon Road and opposite the new west of Waterlooville development of 3,000 homes.
Elizabeth Richards, owner of Diamonds Health and Beauty, said: ‘We’ve been talking about this for at least 20 years and now the road is extremely busy.
‘It’s a fantastic parade of shops. It’s very busy, but we have huge pavements that are completely wasted.
‘We could have a lot more parking – the space could be used a lot better.
‘There is only room for one car at a time and I’ve seen many occasions when cars get stuck in the middle and refuse to reverse out. Sometimes it’s like the OK Corral out there.
‘It’s particularly bad at tea-time when people come to pick up takeaways. And it must be a nightmare for the delivery vans.’
Geoff Quade works at Tender Cut Butchers.
He said: ‘We’ve had occasions when customers have told us they’ve driven up but couldn’t find anywhere to park.
‘The council spent money on improvements before, which didn’t actually improve the area.
‘So we went back to them and it’s taken two years to get this far.
‘What we really want to see is herringbone parking, on a slant, so we can get more cars in.
‘People do want to shop here and it’s very busy with the Indian restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights.’
In a report to the council’s recent cabinet meeting, engineer Millie Mutepfe said it is looking at either making the parade one way or widening it so that two cars can pass while there is still parking either side.
There will be new recycling facilities and environmental improvements – such as adding new trees and hedges.
Shopkeepers and residents will be asked to contribute their ideas on the plans in the coming months, once the two options have been drawn up by highways engineers.