WORK has started to build a £3.9m church expansion that has been in the planning stages for eight years.
Amiri Construction, a Fareham construction firm, has started to build a 500-seat auditorium, sports hall, cafe, foyer and offices at The Locks Heath Free Church, in Hunts Pond Road.
The new build, designed by Harrington Design Architects, in Chichester, is expected to be finished in November 2019, when Amiri will carry out a refurbishment of the existing 180-seat auditorium, pre-school and youth suite.
Mark Madavan, senior minister at Locks Heath Free Church, said he was delighted to see work starting.
He said: ‘We are looking forward to having more space to do things that appeal to people of all ages.
‘The existing auditorium just cannot cope with the demand and so we are looking forward to opening the new facilities next year.’
The project is funded through donations from the congregation, the sale of a church property, fundraising activities and grants.
Martin Tidby, director at Amiri, said their considerate building programme will enable worship to continue throughout construction.