A FLAGSHIP centre at the heart of a Southampton community will close today with the loss of 23 jobs.

Administrators have confirmed to the Daily Echo that the Eastpoint Centre in Thornhill will cease trading from today.

As previously reported the ailing conference and community centre in Bursledon Road was in talks with administrators Baker Tilly in the hope of continuing to trade and sold on as a going concern.

But today the accountancy firm has announced that following discussions with potential buyers they have been unable to sell the business as a going concern and it is now officially in administration.

A statement said: “Unfortunately, the interest received has been in respect of a sale of assets only, and no parties have sought to acquire the business as a going concern.

“The Joint Administrators have assessed the viability of trading the business whilst in Administration. The business is currently forecast to incur trading losses and, without a realistic prospect of achieving a going concern sale, the Joint Administrators have concluded they are unable to trade the business.

“The Eastpoint Centre is now closed and has ceased to trade. A small number of staff will be retained in the short term in order to assist with the closure.”

The news will come as a blow to the community as the centre was used as a social club and by many local organisations and groups.

As reported last week the £10.5m centre, which was opened in 2011, was spiraling into debt with the last accounts showing it was running at a loss of more than £400,000.

A small number of staff are understood to be kept on in order to facilitate any potential sale.