ONE of a Hampshire borough’s last-ever memorial halls will be disposed of for housing, civic officers have revealed.

Fareham Borough Council has decided to close and dispose of Locks Heath Memorial Hall in Locks Heath following the surprise collapse of the tenants, Locks Heath Community Association which leased the site.

The council discussed in a meeting that the halls should be sold off to build more housing in the area and claimed the building is not fit for purpose after the association left it to fall into severe disrepair.

The Daily Echo understands that the association held a 20-year lease on the property, which expires next March.

Among other options were for the council to continue to work with One Community, which it has been doing for some time in a bid to keep the facility open by encouraging community and voluntary organisations to use it in its current form, however, the move had proved to be unsuccessful.

Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: “It’s very old building that has fallen into disrepair, it would cost tens of thousands of pounds to put it right.”

Cllr Sue Bell, executive member for leisure and community, added: “When I went to visit the memorial hall, it was in a poor state of repair, however I am very pleased that the users have moved to far better premises in the Western Wards.”

However, two residents who contacted the Daily Echo said they were left stunned by the decision.

An anonymous local resident, who lives on Locks Heath Park Road near the site, said: “This has come as a shock to me, is a historic place that although has had been left in disrepair could be revitalised into a community hub that everyone can use.

“I can’t see it costing that much to revitalise it and it could be a good investment for the council to bring the community hall back into use.”

Another anonymous resident, also of Locks Heath Park Road, added: “I am surprised that the council would choose to dispose of this piece of history.

“They could run the centre themselves directly and find a business use for it.”

The property which was built in 1922 was purchased by the council in 1966 for the sum of £2,200 and was served by WCs, a small kitchen, storage facilities and a secure outdoor space.

Fareham Borough Council will now submit an outline planning application for the redevelopment of the site for residential purposes with a view to potentially putting on the open market for developers if this is achieved.

It is understood that several flats or bungalows could be built on the site after the hall has been demolished.