Government cash boost could see the regeneration of Leigh Park in new project

Leigh Park Community Centre, Dunsbury Way
Leigh Park Community Centre, Dunsbury Way
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A REGENERATION project which will ‘bring a spirit of rejuvenation to Leigh Park’ could be in the pipeline thanks to a government cash injection.

Havant Borough Council has received £340,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government to demonstrate the feasibility of a health and wellbeing hub in Leigh Park.

The money will be used to explore options into providing new facilities and regenerating existing ones in the area including the community centre, library, NHS property, Making Space, Apex Centre and Tidworth car park.

The funding has come from the £32m Estate Regeneration Fund being distributed nationwide, and will also allow focus to lie on providing residential development.

Councillor Faith Ponsonby, who represents Battins, said: ‘If the project were to go ahead it would be really good, but the problem is schemes like this have surfaced before and turned into dust.

‘Leigh Park needs and deserves the attention and we need as many people as possible to get on board, and give ideas about what they’d like to see happen.

‘The community centre has been in need of a revamp for a long time, it’s a very tired, old building and it doesn’t meet today’s needs.

‘The shopping centre is suffering from a lack of footfall, so if residential developments were added it would bring in more people to support hairdressers, takeaways and other businesses.

‘With regards to NHS services, we haven’t had a general practice in Leigh Park for about three years now. This project could change that.’

Partner landowners as well as community and development professionals will unite to take forward ideas for the hub, and a key consideration will be how to maintain existing facilities.

The council will also work with the community to discover how the area can be regenerated, and expect the feasibility studies to be completed within one year.

Hampshire County Councillor for north esat Havant, Jackie Branson, said: ‘This could be fabulous for the area. Anything that will improve it is a bonus.

‘It will be really interesting to see what the feasibility studies reveal, and all plans made will have to be viable.’

Andrew Biltcliffe, head of planning at Havant Borough Council, added: ‘We’re very pleased to have been awarded this funding and we’re enthusiastic about moving forward with the regeneration project, which must involve the local community in its design.

‘The health and wellbeing hub will greatly benefit the community and provide modern facilities which will bring a spirit of rejuvenation to Leigh Park.’