MORE than £200k has been set aside to revamp an iconic and ancient Hampshire church.

St Nicholas Church in North Stoneham has already received £111,339 towards renovations.

Work which is yet to begin will include installing modern toilets and creating a new community meeting space.

This will reportedly be made available to all sections of the community and will not exclude users on religious grounds.

The money will go towards renewing the kitchen, providing permanent disabled access to the main entrance, a new sound system and putting in modern electrical wiring, lighting and heating systems.

Work will also be done to the exterior of the building, to ensure it is watertight.

The renovations at the church which is led by reverend Sheena Williams are part of an agreement between developers - Highwood Land - and Eastleigh Borough Council.

Highwood is developing North Stoneham Park on Chestnut Avenue - a new estate of around 1,200 homes, primary school, nursery, retail units and a residential nursing home and, eventually, a community centre.

A further £100,000 instalment, plus interest, will follow on completion of the 700th home.

The church was rebuilt in the 1600s however the site is believed to have been a place of worship for 1,000 years

Known locally as the "one hand clock", the "ancient and iconic" building sits next to the new North Stoneham Park development and opposite Eastleigh Football Club.

According to Revd Williams, the existing worshippers will benefit from a revitalised space for worship, adding a new vibrancy to the building and the community.

She added: "St Nicolas is a church on the doorstep of an emerging estate of over 1,200 homes.

"After over 1,000 years of serving North Stoneham, St Nicolas is preparing a revitalisation in order to be a shining light for a brand new community.

"We are leading an ambitious development project to refurbish the church to make it a fresh, vibrant and hospitable space that everyone can benefit from.

"The present facilities are a significant impediment to ministry.

"We seek to create a space which preserves the heritage of the building

Plans for the new homes in Stoneham were previously met with conflict from locals who in 2015 staged a protest on North Stoneham Green.

It is reported that 35 per cent of the homes will be affordable.