Ceremony held as futuristic hub hits its full 18m height

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COMMUNITY leaders have come together to celebrate the progress that’s been made on a major development.

A ceremony was held at the building site of a £12m community hub in Somers Town, Portsmouth, because the building has now reached its full height.

SETTING Project manager Nick Butler and Lord Mayor Lynne Stagg pour concrete round the base of a column. Picture: Paul Jacobs (132006-2 and 1)

SETTING Project manager Nick Butler and Lord Mayor Lynne Stagg pour concrete round the base of a column. Picture: Paul Jacobs (132006-2 and 1)

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Lynne Stagg poured cement into the base of a column and was given a commemorative trowel by contractors BAM.

Cllr Stagg said: ‘The building is absolutely wonderful.

‘It’s going to be a meeting point in Portsmouth.

‘When I taught at St Luke’s School – now Charter Academy – in 1979 the two parts of Somers Town were divided because Winston Churchill Avenue cut right through the middle.

‘Putting this development in the middle of the area makes it more accessible.’

Most of the wooden beams, which were imported from Switzerland, are now in place.

The top is 18m high from the road.

The roof will now be covered with sheets of aluminium and the interior will be fitted out over the next nine months.

The building – called Somers Town Central – is expected to be finished by next summer.

As previously reported in The News, the hub will span Winston Churchill Avenue and is set to house a modern community centre with sports facilities and café, a new health centre and a youth club with an outdoor ball court.

It will occupy 4,000sq ft of floor space.

Thorsten Terweiden, head of The Swiss Business Hub, said he was delighted the materials being used would be for the benefit of local people.

‘I am delighted to be here,’ he said.

‘It’s a great honour and it’s great to see how Switzerland’s timber can be used to create an incredible facility.

‘It’s great knowing that we are contributing to the local economy.’

The futuristic-looking building has 18 curved beams which are kept in place by steel rods. Each beam is made up of different bits of timber which have been fitted together.

Project manager Kevin Hudson said: ‘We are bang on schedule.

‘The engineering is extraordinary.’

Councillor Rob Wood said: ‘People can look through this building now and speculate what the finished product will look like.’

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