Multimillion pound redevelopment plan to go ahead

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MULTImillion pound plans to regenerate the west side of Havant town centre are finally set to come to fruition.

Landowner Hargreaves Properties Ltd is set to move in and redevelop 3.6 acres of land and build a large store alongside the existing Solent Retail Park, off Solent Road.

It comes after months of negotiations between the developer and Pizza Hut, which initially refused to leave its restaurant and, by doing so, prevented the development from going ahead.

Last year Havant Borough Council was asked to consider a Compulsory Purchase Order to demolish the restaurant.

However, Pizza Hut has now confirmed it will be closing tomorrow.

It is not known what shops will open, but Marks and Spencer has already expressed in interest in bringing a Simply Food store to Havant.

The extension of the retail park, announced two years ago, has not been without controversy, as several businesses had to move from buildings onsite and there were concerns that the old part of the town centre was lagging behind the retail parks to the west.

Hargreaves has just completed a new trade park for businesses to move into further along Solent Road.

Councillor David Guest, who is in charge of planning and regeneration at Havant Borough Council, has spoken to bosses at Hargreaves and understands development is imminent.

He said: ‘The buildings will be demolished and construction will start.

‘Hopefully it will make the place look better and create a lot of jobs.

‘Hopefully businesses will thrive.

‘My understanding is the buildings have been vacated and they will start demolition in September.

‘They have spent an awful lot of money on it so far.’

He said big companies would want to see the ‘finished product’ before committing.

He added: ‘There have been lots of names mooted.’

Cllr Guest believes derelict land at West Street next to Havant’s new post office – could also be developed with shops and flats.

Development was approved several years ago, but never came to fruition.

He said it was exciting times as businesses are prepared to invest in Havant.

A statement from Pizza Hut said: ‘We are making every effort to find our members of staff jobs at other restaurants.’