Pledge that Christmas cheer will return to Waterlooville

Waterlooville town centre
Waterlooville town centre
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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CHRISTMAS is definitely coming to Waterlooville this year.

For the past two years it has been a rough ride for the town centre, with light switch-ons cancelled at the last minute and delays in getting Santa’s grotto up and running.

But this year promises to be very different.

The events team of Waterlooville Community Forum has arranged for a much larger grotto to be installed in the centre of the town at Waterlooville library.

The high street will be bathed in festive glow, with a big switch-on ceremony hosted by the Mayor on Saturday, November 16.

And the team is planning a host of festive events for December.

Janet Johnston, secretary of Waterlooville Business Association, who is part of the events team, said: ‘It’s going to be the best one we have had for a few years.

‘We have done a lot over the years, but over the years it’s got less because we don’t have the funding.

‘Now we have a dedicated events team, things are really happening.

‘It’s going to be a really good Christmas.’

The team is being supported by Havant Borough Council.

The grotto will be open from December 9 until Christmas Eve.

Councillor Yvonne Weeks, who is responsible for economy and communities, said: ‘These Waterlooville volunteers are working hard to attract families to the town centre to buy locally in 
the wide range of shops and many places to stop for a break.

‘Santa’s grotto will be a good addition to the other Christmas events the library has to offer this year.’

Council leader Cllr Tony Briggs said things were on the up for Waterlooville.

He said: ‘There were some teething troubles last year.

‘Obviously we don’t want that to happen again.

‘We are getting things organised early so the whole thing runs smoothly and supports the traders in Waterlooville.

‘We seem to be coming out of a recession.

‘It’s been extremely difficult for retailers, whether they are small or the big multiples.

‘Hopefully things are on the turn and we will give any support we can.’

Funding is still needed to run the grotto. Volunteers are also needed.