There’s room for all sorts of shopping experiences

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It’s a tale of two shopping centres – but with two very different plots.

For Whiteley Village, the story is almost over.

Sadly this shopping centre never quite managed to live up to its promise and the customers it was hoped would flock there just didn’t materialise.

Now we learn that the shops will close by the end of this month and the demolition team expects to start work in July.

It won’t be long before we see the buildings pulled down to make way for a new shopping centre, complete with community hub and housing.

The people of Whiteley will be hoping that this scheme proves to be more of a success and we must all want that too.

Meanwhile, over in Southsea, the future is already looking brighter.

Money is to be spent on pedestrianising the southern end of Palmerston Road and in nearby Osborne Road it’s hoped pavement extensions will help create a cafe culture feel.

So while there’s hope that Palmerston Road will flourish, it is accepted that Whiteley Village failed. And, in both cases, rival Gunwharf Quays has played its part.

Of course that’s not the fault of Gunwharf Quays. They’ve found a formula that works for them and for their customers.

The waterfront location, mix of bars and shops, plus the wow factor on offer from the Spinnaker Tower, make it a great place for people who live in the city as well as for those paying us a visit.

But it’s worth remembering that variety really is the spice of life.

There is a place for out of town shopping centres and chain stores. But independent traders and local precincts also need to be given the investment, support and opportunities to flourish.

Gunwharf Quays has done great things for Portsmouth and many people also enjoy what’s on offer at Southampton’s West Quay.

The trick must always be to make sure that one kind of retail doesn’t push out the other until it hits the point of extinction.

That’s not good for business, it’s not good for the local area and it’s certainly not good for shoppers.