Havant council buys Meridian shopping centre for £4.1m and promises to revitalise middle of town

Havant Borough Council has bought the town’s Meridian Centre in a multimillion-pound deal, and has promised that this will help ‘transform’ the town centre.

Saturday, 21st December 2019, 2:41 pm
Updated Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 4:34 pm
Havant Borough Council leader Michael Wilson outside the Meridian Shopping Centre

The authority has said that there won’t be any immediate changes but that over the next few months it will be looking to see how it ‘can evolve to meet future needs’.

The Bulbeck Road car park has also been bought as part of the deal.

Council leader Michael Wilson said: ‘The purchase of the Meridian Centre is fundamental in the regeneration and transformation of Havant town centre. It means we now have control of a major strategic site that is critical to delivering the town centre regeneration plan.

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An artist's impression of the long-term vision of Havant town centre.

‘We are now focusing on ways to regenerate the area for the long-term benefit of the town centre and our residents across the borough.

‘There will be no changes in the day-to-day operation and running of the shopping centre in the immediate future, to ensure it continues to operate smoothly for tenants and shoppers.

‘However, we will be looking at how it can evolve to meet future needs over the coming months.

‘EThe purchase price reflects current market conditions and represents fair market value.

‘The regeneration of the Meridian Centre will form part of the council’s wider, longer-term plans to improve the town for the benefit of everyone who lives, works or visits the area.’

Property management company Montagu Evans will run the centre, which has 35 shops and 380 car parking spaces, covering more than 121,441sq ft on two levels.

The council has to find sites for 10,000 new homes in the borough by 2036 as part of its Local Plan.

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Cllr Wilson added: ‘We have listened to the views of local businesses and residents about the town centre and we are taking action. When we launched the regeneration strategy, we said we would move quickly to make things happen and making this strategic investment shows that’s exactly what we’re doing. This purchase will also be a catalyst for further investment from the public and private sector.

‘We have made this commercial investment because owning the centre gives us the opportunity to influence and lead our town’s regeneration.’

Havant Borough Council bought the centre for £4.1m and Full Council gave approval for the purchase in March and Cabinet verified the purchase on Wednesday. The transaction was finalised after ‘due diligence’ checks.

The purchase has been funded from the Public Works Loans Board.

The council says that the town centre regeneration starts its regeneration strategy for other sites including Waterlooville town centre, Leigh Park centre and Hayling Island seafront.

For up to eight weeks, the car parks at the Meridian Shopping Centre and Bulbeck Road will be free. The car parks will then be run as council car parks and charged accordingly.

For the first time, blue badge holders will be able to now park for free at both sites.