IT’S a long way to come to unveil a new building but for the Mayor of Gorron it was a journey he was proud to make. Jean-Marc Allain is the Mayor of the north western French town Hayling Island has been twinned with for the past 10 years.
He was invited along with Hayling’s mayor, Councillor Ken Smith, to the opening of Gorron House on Hayling seafront, named in honour of the relationship.
In its place had once stood a derelict snooker hall labelled an eyesore by residents who were keen to see the back of it. The prominent spot was in desperate need of regeneration.
There now stands a new development of 14 two-bedroom apartments and a shop on the ground floor, built by First Wessex housing association, with views out over the sea.
Mr Allain said: ‘It has been an honour to be invited to celebrate the opening of this beautiful building.
‘Gorron and Hayling Island have been twinned for 10 years and it is great that our connections are strengthening every year.’
The event was also attended by Hayling councillors, members of the twinning association and partners involved in the development who celebrated the striking new building with a plaque unveiling.
Mayor of Havant, Cllr Smith said: ‘This development is the result of a really strong working partnership between Havant Borough Council and First Wessex.
‘The opening not only celebrates the partnership but also recognises the relationship with our twinned town Gorron.’
Peter Walters, Chief Executive at First Wessex echoed the Mayor’s sentiments.
He said: ‘We started on site in September 2009 and the building was completed in March 2011.
‘First Wessex is proud to have transformed the old snooker club site and regenerated this part of Hayling Island.’
The twinning association holds a beer festival each year which raises money for annual cultural exchanges.