New Portchester Community Centre gets go-ahead from Fareham Borough Council

ALL CHANGE Portchester community centre
ALL CHANGE Portchester community centre

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PLANS for a new £2m community centre have been given the green light despite concerns it is not big enough.

Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee approved the proposals for the replacement Portchester Community Centre at its meeting last night.

The centre will be built at Westlands Grove in Portchester on land immediately south of the existing centre which is no longer fit for purpose.

In a deputation, councillor Roger Price said he agreed with the design, but added: ‘My main concern is that the building as it stands is 830sq m whereas the people of Portchester were promised 900sq m, and had said they had a need for 1,250sq m.’

Cllr Price added that he would like to see an ability for the building to be extended in future.

Glyn Wadey of the Portchester Society said: ‘We support at least 95 per cent of it, but we don’t want the ship to be spoiled for ha’penny of tar at the last minute.’

He also expressed concern about the size and the need for extension.

Councillor Nick Walker said: ‘This is an exciting opportunity for Portchester residents, fit for purpose in the 21st century.

‘It’s regrettable that it’s not as big as some would like it to be, but there had to be a compromise somewhere to bring it within the budget provided.’

The money for the project has been provided by Hampshire County Council on the condition that the new building includes a children’s centre.

Councillors Walker and Price had earlier left the planning committee as they both also sit on the task and finish panel, which is overseeing the project.

The application was approved unanimously by all six remaining councillors.

Building work is expected to start by the end of 2011, and to be completed by autumn next year.