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1,000 new jobs up for grabs at Whiteley Shopping Centre
MORE than a thousand jobs are being created at a new multi-million pound shopping mecca in Hampshire.
A recruitment bonanza gets under way next week to fill positions at the huge £84m Whiteley Shopping Centre development – due to open in May.
Thousands are expected to descend on Solent Hotel in Whiteley on Wednesday as the scramble for jobs begins.
They will be battling it out for positions in the 50 new shops, restaurants and cafés set to open in the overhauled shopping village.
Top high street names including Clintons, Dean’s Diner, Fat Face, Holland and Barrett and JD Sports are already lined up for the first recruitment day.
There will also be representatives from Next, Starbucks, The Body Shop, The Entertainer, Topshop and Xpress Beauty.
News of the employment boost has been met with joy by council bosses and business leaders.
Fareham Borough Council leader Cllr Seán Woodward said: “This is fantastic news.
Obviously these jobs will be for a much larger area as well as for Whiteley. In terms of job creation it is extremely good.
“It is badly needed as south Hampshire under-performs in terms of economic development.
Any jobs are extremely welcome.”
Mike Evans, chairman of Whiteley Parish Council, added: “This is what Whiteley needs – shops that actually sell the things people require.
“We are all hugely delighted. I think it will do the economy well, with a thousand jobs available and around 50 shops.”
Around 87 per cent of the shopping centre has already been let, with Marks & Spencer, Sports Direct, Paperchase and Mamas & Papas among those to have put pen to paper.
It came about through a partnership of developers called Whiteley Co-Ownership Trust, made up of British Land and USS. The new complex will replace its predecessor, which opened as the region’s first outlet shopping centre in 1999.
The original version was billed as the south coast’s first designer outlet centre with gleaming rows of cut-price fashion luxuries on offer from Dolce & Gabbana to Calvin Klein. But it failed to get off the ground and was eventually torn down in 2011.
The gleaming new version will feature double and triple height glazing and oak panels, centred on a new town square with landscaped spaces and public art.
It will also provide over 1,500 car park spaces with up to three hours’ free parking and free parking after 6pm.
Chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Jimmy Chestnutt, said the recruitment drive was good news for the county – but hoped it did not come “at the expense of other retail centres in the area”.
He said: “Clearly any announcement of new jobs is welcome and we hope that these new jobs will be of benefit to the local community.
“However, we need to be sure that these jobs won’t be created at the expense of other retail centres in the area.”
Neil Carter, centre manager, said the recruitment day next week would be a chance for jobhunters to find out more about vacancies.
Anyone interested in attending has to pre-register their interest.