THE FATE of a community hall that is set to be rejuvenated will be decided by the rate payer.
Thorngate Halls, which is run by Gosport Community Action (GCA), is to be revamped, and residents of Gosport will be able to vote on what changes they would like to see made.
‘We want the people of Gosport to decide what they want as it will be them who will be using the facility.Paul Dodd
Built in 1947, Thorngate Halls is used by a wide range of groups and clubs and GCA wants all aspects of the community to choose how it will be improved.
Every council taxpayer in the borough of Gosport will be registered to vote on what they want from the project, which will be privately funded.
Around 40 per cent of the halls which are not currently in use will be altered following the refurbishment.
Paul Dodd, 59, who is a trustee of GCA, said: ‘We want the people of Gosport to decide what they want as it will be them who will be using the facility.
‘There will be guidance to what people want but we are open-minded.’
‘It’s always been our intention to let them decide on the community centre as it is they who use it most.
‘Everyone will be getting a leaflet through the door to inform them and voting begins on October 22 and we’ll be keeping it open until around Christmas time.
‘We’ve already had a number of ideas put forward to us at pilot votes when we’ve been at events and we are open to ideas whether it is a sports facility or a new theatre group.
‘We already have about 3,000 people using the facilities and expect a lot more after the revamp.
‘We don’t really have youth activities currently at the GCA so it would be great to put something on for the kids, whether that’s a cinema on a Saturday morning or a youth club on a Tuesday night.’
Doreen Dodd, chairwoman of the GCA, said: ‘We would particularly like to make it more accessible for people with physical and mental problems.
‘The people who already use the facilities are not in danger as they’ve been a great help to us down the years and we care about them more than ever.
‘We would also like to get a lot of younger people involved. I would really like us to have a recording studio.
‘We’re giving the people of Gosport the chance to decide and we hope as many people as possible vote.’
Current users are in agreement that Thorngate Halls is in dire need to being revamped.
Jan Allpress, principal of Ker-Mel School of Dance, said: ‘The place badly needs it. We got a new dance studio about three years ago which is brilliant but the other rooms are quite run down.
‘We would love to get air conditioning and heating in the building as it gets sweltering hot in the summer and freezing in the winter.’