Plaza is name of choice for Havant civic centre

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THOUSANDS of votes have been counted – and the public has decided a name for Havant’s new £13m civic offices.

Public Service Plaza has been chosen as the winner after the council received more than 16,000 votes in a poll.

Residents were given four choices shortlisted from 150 suggested names.

Public Service Plaza was more popular than Waterhaven, beating it by 2,000 votes and also beat The Agora and The Beehive.

The revamped civic centre, due to be unveiled in September, will bring together public services, including 420 Havant Borough Council staff, 250 Hampshire County Council staff, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Connexions and others.

In total, 30,554 votes were cast through Havant Borough Council’s website poll, via e-mail, suggestion box, post, and text message.

There were mixed views about the new name from community leaders.

Chairman of Havant and Bedhampton Community Board Keith Chessell said: ‘It sounds Spanish or Italian or something.

‘The Public Service “Square” is a bit odd. But if that’s what the public wants I can’t argue with it.’

Ann Griffiths, a member of the conservation group Bosmere 100, said she would have preferred something that referred to the history of the area.

But council officials said the name refers to the idea of a town square and combines plaza with the original working title – Public Service Village – which reinforces the intention that the building will be the site where local government and the voluntary sector work together.

Although it has no outside square area, the new atrium in the council will be a meeting place for the public.

Councillor Tony Briggs, leader of Havant Borough Council, said: ‘The public vote has been incredibly successful.

‘A large number of residents took the time to tell us which name was their favourite, which is important when considering that the Public Service Plaza will be a vibrant place for the community to meet and do business.’

Leader of Hampshire County Council Cllr Ken Thornber said he was pleased with the name because it summed up the function of the building.

‘The new name makes reference to the idea of a town square and meeting place for the local area, and the Public Service Plaza will be an important community hub for people in the borough of Havant,’ he said.

‘I am also pleased that the name includes references to the project’s original working title, Public Service Village, which reinforces the aspiration for partnership working across local government and the voluntary sector which this building embodies.’