A major new retail complex is on course to open next spring following an on off planning process stretching back to 2007. The £64 million Whiteley Village development, close to the Hampshire town of Fareham, will provide over 300,000 sq. ft. of quality retail and dining space in an open high street format that it is hoped will prove more popular than its predecessor.
As Movehut has previously reported the project is the result of a joint venture between British Land and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and has been delivered by architects Corstorphine and Wright. The firm has extensive experience designing for the retail sector alongside other prestigious projects including Derby City Council Offices, the University of Warwick Sports Centre and Bath Spa Hotel.
For the Whiteley development, they have chosen a contemporary design using natural materials and double height glazing. It comprises over 50 units and features roof mounted solar panels, landscaped spaces and public art. Among the anchor tenants are Marks and Spencer (60,000 sq. ft.) and Next (19,500 sq. ft.). Other retailers taking space are H&M, Boots and Sports Direct. The food and drink outlets include Frankie & Benny’s (4,000 sq. ft.) and Starbucks (2,500 sq. ft.).
The Whiteley redevelopment is on the site of a previous commercial property complex which was demolished in 2011 after failing to attract the anticipated number of visitors during its 12 years of trading. This time it is predicted that the site will prove a hit with shoppers and that 75 per cent of trade will come from Whiteley’s core south coast catchment area, despite competition from Portsmouth and Southampton.
Councillor Mike Evans believes the old shopping centre failed to meet the community’s needs but he claims there has been positive local feedback surrounding the current project.
He said; “We have had hundreds of people coming and saying how delighted they are that they are getting these types of shops.” He also praised the developers for sticking to their plans despite several delays and thanked them for their “commitment to the community.”
However, on a local online forum, residents have expressed fears about the amount of traffic coming into the area when the Whiteley development opens in April 2013. One contributor predicts it will be a “nightmare” at times while another says that unless roads are improved to accommodate the extra volume there could be “serious trouble.”
Whiteley Village is one of only a handful of major retail commercial property developments currently under construction. In fact a recent study by Cushman and Wakefield shows that shopping centre development in the UK is at its lowest since early 1960s and that this is likely to remain the case for the “foreseeable future.”