BUSINESS owners have pledged to work together to make sure the high street has as big a chance of success as possible in 2019.
Fareham Borough Council hosted a breakfast meeting at Ferneham Hall that saw traders discuss their concerns and debate ways to improve the future of the town centre.
Claire Savage from Verelle Hairdressing and Academy at No 5 believes the answer is working together.
She said: ‘Competition is healthy and it means businesses work hard to get and retain customers so the standard in the area goes up.
‘It means you strive to have excellent customer service and also offer something unique which makes your business better.’
Parking charges and the growing number of coffee and charity shops were discussed.
Claire: ‘I don’t think having more than one of something is a bad thing. We have quite a few salons around us and we are all friendly and if they can all get customers then that shows the want is there.
‘I think this meeting has brought up a number of things and it would be good to have it more regularly.’
Executive leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Sean Woodward, led the event with a presentation by retail and leisure expert Tim Clark, from property consultants, Vail Williams.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘Like any town centre Fareham faces challenges due to the changing nature of retail.
‘This event gave traders an opportunity to ask questions and have positive discussions about how we can face these challenges together. Those who attended showed a passion for the town centre, something which we share.
‘We will continue to work together towards a brighter future for Fareham town centre.’
Carrie Nelson from Nexus IFA on West Street said: ‘I think to improve a town centre everyone needs to work collectively and help to bring out the best in each other and themselves.
‘I think it is starting to happen with a West Street forum starting up but more needs to be done and quicker. If everyone pitches in with more ideas, enthusiasm and event planning then that will turn things around.’
Carrie added: ‘This was a good event to be able to meet shop owners from other areas in the town centre and this type of event needs to occur more often for it to have an impact but it is definitely a start.’