Portchester looks forward to new community space

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COUNCILLORS that jointly funded a commemorative plaque for a new community centre have spoken about the planned facilities.

Fareham Borough Councillors Roger Price and Nick Walker decided to mark the opening of the new £2m Portchester Community Centre with a special dedication plaque to honour the work taking place in the Queen’s diamond jubilee year.

The centre is due to open early next year and will have a new children’s centre, provision for a pre-school, a large multi-purpose hall, meeting rooms and a kitchen.

The 830sq m development will have large rooms that can be hired out for functions such as weddings and there will be a multi-purpose badminton and function room.

The larger rooms will be able to be divided into smaller areas so that smaller groups can still take advantage of the space.

Councillor Nick Walker said: ‘The new centre can be used by any type of group and for any type of use.’

The children’s centre has been funded by Hampshire County Council.

It is hoped that the existing pre-school will transfer from the old centre, although this is not yet confirmed.

There will also be space at the front of the centre dedicated for the police.

The Safer Neighbourhood Team will use the room to host meetings with members of the community and they will host their monthly beat surgeries at the centre.

Cllr Walker said: ‘Following meetings with the Safer Neighbourhood Team, it was felt that it would be an excellent idea to involve the police to help combat anti-social behaviour around the centre.’

Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Sean Woodward said: ‘The old centre had reached its sell by date, it was dilapidated.

‘The existing community centre has a lot of groups that use it and our expectation is that they will move over and their activities will continue in the new centre.’

Councillor Connie Hockley, executive member for leisure and community, said: ‘I’m delighted that the new community centre is nearly complete and I look forward to its opening.’

The official opening will take place after the existing community centre has been demolished in January 2013.

Councillor Roger Price said: ‘It is very nearly finished, there’s just some tidying up to do before we can open it up.’