A VISION for the future of Waterlooville has been set out by Havant Borough Council and although ‘bold and challenging’ – deputy council leader, Councillor Tim Pike, said it can be achieved.
In its Regeneration Strategy for Havant Borough 2018-2036, speaking as if goals have materialised, the council states: ‘Waterlooville has redefined its centre by consolidating its retail area into a more sustainable leisure-based offer.
‘Some tired buildings have been redeveloped into prominent residential and commercial buildings.
‘The severance of the road network between the new Major Development Area and the old town has been minimised.
‘Improvements to pedestrian and cycle routes and removal of barriers to movement has made Waterlooville a more walkable place and linked it with nearby residential areas.'
It states the extension of bus services linking the town to Portsmouth and Havant and innovative approaches to reducing car ownership means Waterlooville has rediscovered its historical status as a destination of choice.
The council’s plan for the whole of the borough will go hand in hand with the Local Plan 2036.
The regeneration strategy has been split into three phases and details of individual projects are currently confidential, but Waterlooville has been recognised as one of five key areas that needs regenerating.
Cllr Pike, cabinet lead for regeneration on the council, has held public meetings with the Waterlooville Events Team where residents have discussed the area's future.
He said: ‘The team do a great job bringing the community together to benefit businesses and people in the area. I encourage all businesses to work together to encourage people to visit the town centre.
‘I’ve taken part in two meetings to discuss how Waterlooville needs to adapt to changes in retail shopping habits and how people wish to spend their leisure time.
‘People want improved services and food outlets replacing previous retailers.
‘Our new Local Plan is seeking to put in place policies that will encourage this change.
‘Waterlooville town centre is serving a rapidly-growing population as developments to the west of the town are occupied by new residents. I encourage businesses to take advantage of these potential customers and bring them into the town centre.
‘As a council, we are ambitious for our area, and our vision statements are bold and challenging. However, I believe we are realistic in what can be achieved.’
Cllr Pike said he welcomes the announcement of funding through the Transforming Cities Fund for better connections between Waterlooville and Portsmouth.