PLANS for the final part of a scheme designed to breathe life back into a previously struggling area of Gosport has been approved by the council.
The final stage of the Rowner Renewal Project, set up more than a decade ago to transform the area’s concrete jungle into a desirable place to live, has been given the green light.
For the final stage of the project, 37 homes will be built south of Howe Road, with additional access to Alver Valley Country Park and extra car parking – completing the new Alver Village area.
The £146m project has torn down the concrete jungle, replacing it with a total of 660 new homes.
Looking back on the scheme, which commenced in 2007, residents say it has had a tremendous impact on the area.
Michael Fifield, 52, said: ‘Living here is much nicer now – but it used to be really bad.
‘You would have huge groups of young people gathering and causing trouble, the place was noisy and it was unpleasant to live here.
‘But this project of their’s has transformed where we live – and how we live.
‘Everyone stops and talks to one another now, asking each other how they are. It’s a huge change.’
Sarah Grant, 49, has lived in the area for more than 20 years.
She said: ‘This place used to have quite a bad reputation in the town, but it is so nice now.
‘There’s lots of new houses and lots of new people – it’s been nice to see this area turn around like this.’
Natasha Derry, 32, said: ‘The area has changed a lot since I first moved in.
‘There is a really good community here now and it’s a nice, quiet area.
‘I know people used to think that this area was a really horrible place to live, but all of that is in the past now.
‘I can honestly see myself staying here for quite a while because it’s such a nice little community.’
Ward councillor for Grange, Cllr Tony Jessop, also used to live in the concrete jungle.
He said: ‘It was a much-needed development because it had become quite run-down.
‘Now it has been redeveloped into an area that people will want to live in.
‘This is the final phase of what has become a very successful regeneration project.
‘It will always be known as Rowner to some, but it has now changed beyond all recognition.’