New vision for Locks Heath district centre to go on show

VISION A computer-generated image of how the revamped district centre could look
VISION A computer-generated image of how the revamped district centre could look
Councillor Luke Stubbs

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PLANS are being unveiled for the revamp of a district centre, which the owners claim will create 300 new jobs.

At the heart of the proposals being put forward by NewRiver Retail Limited, the owners of the Locks Heath Shopping Village, is a purpose-built leisure and community centre, which will include a 25m swimming pool, community hall and library.

It will also include a new Morrisons supermarket.

When Fareham Borough Council held an exhibition about changes to Locks Heath district centre last year, it was overwhelmed by the response, as hundreds of people turned up to have their say. The council has had a longstanding pledge to provide a new pool in the western wards.

Allan Lockhart, property director at NewRiver said: ‘We aim to respond to the council’s priorities and are excited by the prospect of investing further in Locks Heath Shopping Village which has changed little since it was built in the early 1980s.

‘A change at Locks Heath is overdue to meet the present and future leisure and shopping needs of local residents.

‘We also expect the creation of an estimated 300 new jobs.’

Mr Lockhart added: ‘We know from the council’s consultation that there is strong support for a new integrated leisure and community centre and we firmly believe that this will bring a much-needed leisure dimension to Locks Heath, meaning that local people can combine shopping and recreational trips.’

Independent research commissioned by the council also showed that about 70 per cent of local expenditure on food shopping by local residents takes place outside the immediate area.

Mr Lockhart said: ‘This all adds up to a massive leakage in custom and the number one priority has to be to keep that spending local so that Locks Heath and its diverse range of retailers can benefit from the increased footfall.

‘The best way to do this is to provide a new, fully ranged anchor foodstore of critical scale that will stem the flow of customers elsewhere and provide excellent scope for linked shopping trips within the district centre.

‘We are very pleased to have secured Morrisons as the operator of a new 71,000sq ft foodstore.’

An exhibition of the plans will take place on Friday between midday and 6pm and Saturday between 9.30am and 3.30pm, at the Lockswood Community Centre in the Shopping Village.

NewRiver’s project team will be there to answer questions and listen to views.