COUNCIL chiefs want to buy a former pub and bulldoze it to make way for a new community centre.

Winchester City Council has bid for the New Queen's Head in Stanmore Lane which had a price tag of £1m.

Bargate Homes had twice been refused planning permission to demolish the pub and build houses as well as a convenience store.

Now the council wants to move the Carroll Centre, Community Centre and Scout Hut in Somers Close to a new building on the plot.

Proposals for the new “community and leisure hub” include a five-court sports hall and 80-space car park.

If successful, it is proposed to build about 30 new homes on council land off Somers Close freed-up by relocating The Carroll Centre and two other buildings.

The hub will form a central part of a long-term regeneration scheme for Stanmore which is among the 30 per cent poorest neighbourhoods in the country.

Other proposals include revamped play areas, upgraded open space, improved sports pitches, new footpaths, a nature walk and extra parking.

Cllr Jamie Scott chaired a steering group for Stanmore Masterplan which also includes Rev Mark Gardner, vicar of St Luke's church and a trustee of the Carroll Centre.

Cllr Scott said a new community centre in Stanmore Lane would be more visible and encourage greater use of facilities, including the library.

He said: “People don't like change and there is a lot of attachment to the Carroll Centre, Community Centre and Scout Hut. But a lot of families would like to see more council houses for their youngsters so they can stay in the area where they have grown up.”

The Rev Mike Gardner welcomed the proposed move to the former pub site. He said: “I think it is a very positive option for the whole community as there would be easier access, a better location and improved facilities.”