Delays on repairs to fire-hit Gosport centre spark complaints

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YOUTH groups have hit out over delays to the reconstruction of a sports centre partly destroyed by fire.

The Gosport & District Sports Association for the Disabled was badly damaged two years ago forcing users to find other places to meet.

That included groups of Guides and Brownies whose leaders are now calling for the borough council to crack on with the reconstruction after it hit a delay.

Rosie Wakelin is a leader at 6th Hardway Brownies, which used to meet at the centre in Elson before the fire in 2012.

She said: ‘We never get to see the other units or meet up.

‘Since the fire we went to a church but we had to move.

‘The other Girl Guides and Brownies units have had to move to Rowner.

‘Girls who live in Elson who would normally walk there, their parents have to drive.’

She added that other units have seen a drop in numbers after moving to a meeting place outside of the area.

The 3rd Hardway Guides have dropped from 30 members to 14 after the fire.

An email seen by The News confirms that the delay has been caused by the insurance company refusing to pay out as the cost has increased.

In a statement a spokeswoman said: ‘We’re speaking with the loss adjuster.

‘If things can then be sorted out to get the contractors back on site it should take three to four weeks to complete the work.’

Mick Hollis is the chairman of Gadsad. He said a few members have quit.

He said: ‘It’s nearly two years – it’s important we get back in as we can’t operate.

‘We’ve been doing the same six or seven table-top games for two years.’

Councillor Peter Chegwyn, the member for Hardway at Hampshire County Council, said: ‘It’s all very frustrating.

‘All the groups who use the Gadsad building just want to see it back in use.

‘The council, the insurers and the contractors should stop arguing and sort the matter out.’

He said he will help pay for new furniture and equipment from his devolved budget when the work is complete.

It comes after a fire ripped through the felt roof of the building on November 27, 2012 at 1.30am. Fire crews battled to put out the blaze and minimise the damage.

Forty firefighters were at the scene, off Elson Road.

As reported, the steel frame for the building went up in July. But the work to fit the interior has now dragged on.