Work starts on Portsmouth youth centre

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IT will be a state-of-the-art complex giving children from Paulsgrove and Wymering the chance to come together and have some fun.

And yesterday members of both communities in Portsmouth came together for the ceremonial cutting of the first sod at the site where the £1.4m youth and community centre will be built in Cheltenham Road, Paulsgrove.

The two-storey building is due to open in September next year and will include a sports hall, art room and meeting rooms for conferences.

As previously reported in The News, the facility is replacing the former Hillside Youth and Community Centre that existed on the same site.

It was demolished earlier this year after it fell into disrepair.

Councillor Lee Hunt, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, had the honour of turning the first sod. He said: ‘I’m honoured to have turned the soil to celebrate the first day of construction for the new centre.

‘It will be a great asset to the Paulsgrove and Wymering community.’

Councillor Jim Patey, who represents Paulsgrove, hopes the new centre will retain the Hillside name because of its meaning to residents.

‘Hillside is an important part of the history of Paulsgrove and Wymering,’ he said.

‘I went to the former centre as a boy and I had my wedding reception there too.’

The event was also attended by

Peter Littlefield, and his mum Peggy, whose husband built the original Hillside Centre, as well as King Richard School pupil Wade Appleton.

The new centre has been funded by a contribution from the council and insurance money from the Wymering Centre, which burnt down in 2006.

Chris Richards, community projects officer, added: ‘The official cutting of the earth is a great tradition and marks the beginning of construction and celebrates the first day of a project.’