IT’S been a long time coming but a key moment in the £140m redevelopment of Rowner was marked with a ceremony.
More than 33 residents have now moved into new homes built in Alver Village, which is being transformed as part of the regeneration of Rowner.
Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and Gosport Mayor Chris Carter were among some of the guests invited to take a look at the progress being made.
Cllr Hook said: ‘I’m excited because this is the start of a new era for the people of Alver Village.
‘This has been a long time coming.
‘I remember the first discussions in 2004 and people saying that it could not happen.
‘So while it’s taken seven years, this is a milestone and is great for all the people in Gosport.
‘This scheme is about the whole of Gosport and not just this area.
‘The old Rowner always had a stigma attached, but now people can look forward to the future and have a better quality of life.’
The Rowner Renewal Partnership, which is made up of First Wessex, Gosport Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and Taylor Wimpey, aims to build 700 new homes by 2017.
So far 100 homes have been built and it’s hoped another 43 families will be in by December.
A shopping area, with a Tesco supermarket, is also being built, which will provide around 200 jobs.
Kim and Chris Quelch, of Amelia Gardens, were the first residents to move in and went along to the celebration on Saturday.
Kim, 53, a catering manager, said: ‘We moved from Aldershot to live here and we have been delighted with everything that has been delivered.
‘We’re also looking forward to having job opportunities closer, as at the moment we are travelling 50 miles to work.’
A ceremonial key for the new Rowner was handed to Mayor Carter, by Hazel Warwick, of the Rowner Renewal Partnership, who said: ‘The aim is to regenerate this area by delivering new homes that are suitable for the 21st century.’
Mayor Carter added: ‘This was a symbolic day for Gosport and I was delighted to accept this splendid key.
‘And I was honoured to welcome new residents to Alver Village.’