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Council confirms purchase of shopping centre

By Connor Steel

FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL have announced that they have completed the “formal purchase” of the town’s main shopping centre and several other properties within West Street for a cost of ‘£14.25 million’; the administration hoping to develop a more vibrant town centre that would join alongside Fareham Live and Osborn Road Multi-storey ‘projects’.

The complex was built in the 1970s and includes a variety of businesses as tenants; including Next, Game, Boots and B&M at this current time. A huge refurbishment was completed in the 1990s, but has seen an increase in empty stores following the closure of many retailers over recent years such as River Island, Beales, and others since the ‘pandemic’.

Councillors have said that this purchase includes properties that front on to West Street, covering an area running from the jobcentre building to the Coral bookmakers. It forms part of a regeneration project and it’s hoped the ownership will give further stability to current tenants; whilst allowing them control to work with them and partners to improve the area.

Specialist shopping centre advisors, RivingtonHark, have been appointed to advise on the “strategic direction” and any improvements with the purpose of benefiting both shoppers / businesses. The day-to-day management will not change and will continue to be undertaken by Munroe K, who will retain a constant presence within the shopping centre facility.

The council’s current focus is believed to be looking at the town’s evening economy and if it can be better connected to the new Fareham Live entertainment venue that is due to officially launch in spring 2024. The formal consultation looks set to open by the end of 2023 and is expected to run for many months; covering residents, businesses, and shoppers.

Readers can examine full quotes from Council Leader Sean Woodward and RivingtonHark Director / Co Founder Mark Williams by clicking the link; whilst more information on the ‘Shopping Centre’ and events can be seen on their website.

PICTURED BY CONNOR STEEL: Exterior entrance to the main Fareham Shopping Centre complex from West Street.