Leigh Park celebrates 60th anniversary of its high street

Park Parade in Leigh Park
Park Parade in Leigh Park
  • All are invited to join in the fun at Park Parade and share their memories
Have your say

THE end of the Second World War was only 10 years beforehand and houses were being built at a rapid rate on a former country estate.

Park Parade was born – and it has been the hub of Leigh Park ever since. It was built on Portsmouth City Council-owned land as part of the massive building project.

This weekend will see a celebration in the high street as locals pull out all the stops to mark the 60th birthday.

There will be a carnival atmosphere in the precinct with live music, karaoke, games and dance displays.

And there will be plenty for the children, with a petting area, pillow fights, donkey rides and face painting.

Karen Smith, a landlady and one of the organisers of the event, said: ‘This is a free event to follow the success of the Queen’s Jubilee street party that happened in 2012.

‘The event will take place on Saturday from 10am and will be opened by the mayor of Havant Leah Turner.’

Park Parade has been rejuvenated in recent years, with new and quirky shops moving in.

Karen said: ‘Park Parade, and the entire Leigh Park shopping centre, continue to change with lots of new shops opening over the past year.

‘These include Funky Baby Boutique, IDress, Leigh Fitness, Dynamic Dance Studio, Max 99p, UK Pizza House, Clouds Apart and Sofa Bed Heaven, with more in the pipeline to open soon.

‘A couple of shops have also expanded to larger premises, which proves the high street is far from dead.’

The longest-standing independent business is Polyana haberdashery, which has been there for 40 years.

Leigh Park councillor Yvonne Weeks remembers her first job at Thomas’ newsagents when she was 15.

‘Park Parade was a thriving shopping centre and you could drive through,’ she said.

‘There were two or three bakers, two or three butchers.

‘It’s great they are celebrating the 60 years because a lot of people will remember it.

‘There are still some good shops up there.’

The fun takes place from 10am to 4pm.