BULLDOZERS have moved in to start a new phase in the redevelopment of a Gosport estate.
Homes are being knocked down in Darwin Way, Raleigh Walk and Livingstone Court in Rowner to make way for a new Tesco superstore and a further 101 new properties.
The supermarket will bring around 150 jobs to the area with Tesco pledging to help local, long-term unemployed people into work.
Three other shops are also expected to open on the site by spring next year.
Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘We are pleased that Tesco is recognising a particular section of the local community and will work with Job-Centre Plus to help local people gain permanent positions within the store.’
Cllr Ken Thornber, leader of Hampshire County Council, added: ‘This next phase of Rowner’s regeneration is testament to the strong sense of pride that exists within Rowner.
‘It is this community spirit and unfailing wish of the residents to improve their estate that has inspired Hampshire County Council to stick with them.
‘The demolition is tangible evidence that the vision of improved opportunities and a better life is now becoming a reality for the people of Rowner.
‘Those of us who gathered here are proud to be part of the Rowner Renewal Partnership that is helping them.’
The Rowner Renewal Partnership is a multi-million pound major redevelopment phased over eight years which will bring over 700 new homes to the area.
Simon Petar, Tesco corporate and legal affairs manager, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to bring investment and jobs to Rowner when others are unable to do so.
‘We are committed to employing people from the local area and we will work with Job-Centre Plus to ensure the new jobs we provide are aimed at local people.’
A community consultation on the third phase will take place in May. Dates are still to be arranged when local residents and community groups can then have their say. It comes after The News reported on how some community leaders had complained there was a lack of open space for youngsters.