Gosport church submits plans to demolish parish centre - and build a brand new one

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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.

The current parish centre opposite St Marys Church in Green Road, Alverstoke.

The current parish centre opposite St Marys Church in Green Road, Alverstoke.

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.

READ MORE: Residents turn out in force for Alverstoke Garden Walkabout to restore parish centre

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.’