THIS is the bold vision of a multi-million pound civic hub in the heart of a Hampshire town.
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 that are set to change the face of the town centre forever.
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 nextdoor Wessex House – also owned by the council – would be demolished and “remodelled” to increase the light in the area while there would be a new extension linking the two buildings. The glass box would form a “welcoming” entrance to Eastleigh House at the corner of Romsey Road and Upper Market Street, according to plans drawn up by architects Stride Treglown.
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.
The box would also include “touch-down points, meeting rooms and break-out spaces”. Solar panels would be added to the roof of the building as part of moves to improve the council’s environmental credentials.
If the scheme gets a vote of conference in August building work could start as soon as October with council staff eventually moving in at the end of March 2014.
Critics of the office 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.
But council leader Keith House says the scheme will 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.
Civic chiefs snapped up Eastleigh House in 2011 at a cost of £4.5m – Wessex House is worth a similar amount.
The fee for revamping the buildings has yet to be revealed.