THE cost of creating a new civic hub in the heart of a Hampshire town could top £7m.

One of Eastleigh’s biggest office blocks, Eastleigh House, is earmarked for an extensive refurbishment to create a bright new focal point for the area.

The new home of Eastleigh Borough Council would also include a landmark “glass box” – the latest part of regeneration plans to change the face of the town centre forever.

But the move, which would also include revamping the neighbouring Wessex House business centre, could cost a combined £7,082,000 to complete – a figure that includes the purchase of Eastleigh House.

Civic chiefs aim to borrow the money, with a range of repayment options being considered.

As previously reported, council bosses say their Leigh Road headquarters are no longer fit for purpose and want to move in to a smaller, more environmentally- friendly base.

Eastleigh House, built in the 1970s, would get a new facade with bright cladding fixed to the exterior.

The concrete entrance to next-door Wessex House would be demolished and “remodelled” to increase the light in the area while there would be a new extension linking the two buildings.

Civic chiefs hope the eye-catching design will spark extra development in the town centre and draw in thousands of extra people, boosting local businesses.

Solar panels would be added to the roof of the building as part of moves to improve the council’s environmental credentials.

If all goes to plan council staff could be set to move in by March next year.

Critics of the move have pointed to the lack of parking facilities in the town centre and say the Leigh Road offices, purpose-built and opened in 1976, are still useable.

Council leader Keith House says the scheme would be cost-neutral when taking into account the cost of revamping the authority’s current home while the new base is close to the town’s train and bus stations.

Cabinet members will discuss the financial options available to them when they meet on Thursday at the council’s Leigh Road headquarters.