Residents get an early look at £2m Portchester community centre

DESIGNS Cllr Connie Hockley showing Viv Newman, centre and Mary Dean, right, plans for the new �2million Portchester Community Centre.    Picture: Steve Reid (112052-789)
DESIGNS Cllr Connie Hockley showing Viv Newman, centre and Mary Dean, right, plans for the new �2million Portchester Community Centre. Picture: Steve Reid (112052-789)
The Public Service Plaza, Havant Borough Council offices
Picture: Allan Hutchings (150078-158)

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SCORES of residents saw plans of how a £2million community centre in Portchester will be taking shape.

Around 200 people dropped into the current Portchester Community Centre, in Westlands Grove, to see how a new centre will look.

An artist's impression of the new �2million Portchester Community Centre.     Picture: Steve Reid (112052-817)

An artist's impression of the new �2million Portchester Community Centre. Picture: Steve Reid (112052-817)

People were also encouraged to fill in a feedback form expressing what they liked or disliked about the plans and what changes they would like to see.

The venue has been earmarked to open in September 2012 and will be built behind the current centre.

It will have soundproofing screens, which can slide away to make rooms bigger or smaller for multipurpose use.

Parents from the Andy Pandy Pre-School, which meets at the centre, were at yesterday’s consultation.

Lorna Coward, of The Fairway, has two children who went to the nursery.

But the 36-year-old is concerned the nursery will have to clear the room if it is booked by another group or event in the evenings.

She said: ‘The outside of the new building looks really nice – loads better than the one they have now.

‘But the proposals seem short-sighted and I’m worried they are planning a pack-away nursery.

‘I’ve seen the nursery work that way and work as a fixed one, and I think the fixed one works better.’

Pupils from Portchester Community School, White Hart Lane, also looked at the plans.

Jack Hanks, 13, a year nine student, said: ‘I think the centre will help bring young and old people together.

‘It would’ve been good to have another floor, but I know that wouldn’t be possible.’

The leader of the Porchester Labour group Richard Ryan, 61, said: ‘I think the location is good and there will be more green space.’

The centre’s task and finish panel made up of five borough councillors and two members of the Portchester Community Association, which organised the consultation, will meet next Monday to discuss the comments received.

Chairman Cllr Connie Hockley said: ‘We have had a lot of interest and a lot of positive and useful comments.’

The proposals are due to go before a Fareham Borough Council planning committee on July 21, followed by a four-week consultation period, before being presented to the committee in August or September.