Agreement over Somers Town hub funding reached

FUTURE An artist's impression of The Somers Town hub
FUTURE An artist's impression of The Somers Town hub
Chancellor Philip Hammond holding his red ministerial box outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his Budget

City Labour MP slams budget for ‘failing Portsmouth’

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THE future of the Somers Town Hub could be secure after a crucial funding deal was reached.

As previously reported, there were fears that the £12m centrepiece of the area’s regeneration was in trouble because of a delay in signing a vital contract with the local NHS authority.

Now leaders from local primary care trusts and Portsmouth City Council have reached an agreement on the terms of a lease for health services that will be provided in the hub.

The distinctive building will span Winston Churchill Avenue and also contain a community centre with sports facilities and a cafe, a youth club with an outdoor ball court and a housing office.

Council strategic director Margaret Geary said: ‘This secures the involvement of health in the future of the hub and ensures modernisation of health provision for local people.

‘For a number of years now, in numerous consultations, local people have expressed support for improving community health facilities in the area.’

Portsmouth executive director at the Ship primary care trust cluster Innes Richens said: ‘We too have been very keen to enhance NHS health facilities in this area, so we’re really pleased that our goal will now come to fruition.’

But Tory finance spokeswoman Cllr Donna Jones said she won’t be happy until the contract is finally signed.

‘We’ve heard all this before and here we are months later,’ she said.

‘While it’s good to hear we’ve reached an agreement at last it is still very disappointing that this has dragged on as long as it has.’

Work on the hub is scheduled to begin this summer and is due to be completed by the end of 2013.