A PARISH centre in Gosport that is ‘unfit for purpose’ is set to be knocked down and replaced with a new community hub.
The St Mary’s Church parish centre in Green Road, Alverstoke has faced a number of problems in recent years, from a leaking roof to broken electrics and plumbing problems.
Now, plans have been submitted to Gosport Borough Council for the building to be knocked down, with a new centre being built in its place.
The new centre would boast four rooms, including a main hall, for community groups to hold activities and meetings.
Campaigners from the Parish Centre Regeneration Fund have raised more than £97,000 since 2015, which has helped to pay for a professional architect to draw up plans and to submit the planning application – but it will cost £2m to complete the project.
Fundraising events have included monthly coffee mornings, and an open garden event earlier this year.
Ann Smith, chairwoman of the fundraising team, said: ‘It’s been a complicated journey over the past four years but this is a really exciting milestone to reach.
‘We can’t apply for large funding grants until we have planning permission, but we’re hoping to build a fantastic facility for the long-term future of our community.
‘The current building is 50 years old and everything needs replacing – it requires a tremendous amount of money to keep it going and it works out cheaper to knock it down and build a new one.’
If the submitted plans go ahead, the new building will be fully accessible for disabled visitors, with a mobility scooter charging area, bike rack and 26 parking spaces.
Ms Smith says the disabled accessibility is a ‘crucial’ part of the new parish centre, which should serve the community for decades to come.
‘Being accessible for everyone is a must,’ she said.
‘The current building isn’t disability-friendly and we don’t want anyone to feel excluded.
‘We want the new parish centre to be a hub for the community – we hope that by submitting the planning application we can continue to take some major steps forward.’