Plans unveiled for how first slice of grant will be used

A bus on the BRT route

Work set to start on next stage of ‘congesting-busting’ bus transport scheme in Gosport

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PLANS for how a big pot of cash will be used to help regenerate a rundown area of Portsmouth have been revealed.

As previously reported, £1m has been made available for Fratton in the form of a lottery grant from the Local Trust, which is part of The National Lottery.

Fratton Big Local Partnership, which is leading the Fratton Big Local project, has decided it wants to start spending from the end of this year.

Up to £100,000 over the next 12 months will be used to make Fratton more attractive, which will be done by improving shops, getting rid of litter, improving wildlife and installing hanging baskets.

Historic walks could be introduced around the grounds of St Mary’s Church.

Better use will be made of open spaces and popular events such as May Fayre will be expanded.

A community worker will be hired to bring everything together and plans will be drawn up for a new community hub.

The ideas have been discussed with residents at St Mary’s Church and Asda superstore, at The Bridge Shopping Centre.

Father Bob White, chairman of Fratton Big Local Partnership, said: ‘It’s an exciting time. There’s a real buzz and excitement about the whole thing. It’s about patience and making sure that what we set up lasts.

‘We could have a big party and blow the lot, but then in two years’ time it would be forgotten. It’s important that we do things which will have a long-lasting impact.’

A total of £10,000 of next year’s money will be used to set up a community chest for people who want to apply for small grants to do their own projects.

All of the £1m has to be spent in the next 10 years. Fratton councillor Mike Hancock praised the care that had been put into developing the project. He said: ‘This is a great opportunity and I am delighted that people have been patient and they haven’t rushed to say this a great scheme, let’s spent £100,000 on this and that.’

‘There are pretty strict controls in terms of the ways the money can be spent.

‘That’s why the group doing the work has got the area at heart.’