NEW jobs will be created in Bishop’s Waltham when a leading charity opens a state of the art facility.
Age Concern Hampshire plans to move to a new building on land surrounding the parish council’s offices at Jubilee Hall.
One half of the building will serve as a day care centre for the elderly, including dementia services, while the other part of the building will serve as a wellbeing centre, creating around 10 new jobs.
The site will be built by the Bishop’s Waltham Educational Institute, which awards grants ‘in the interests of social welfare and education’ in the area. Age Concern will rent it from the institute, who in turn will rent the land from the parish at a peppercorn rent. The planning application is yet to be presented to Winchester City Council, but architects Kenn Scaddon have drawn up plans.
Rick Smith, director of Age Concern Hampshire, said: “Every way I think about this, it’s a positive thing: for Bishop’s Waltham residents who need the services but can’t travel far, and for the segment of the population who will benefit from the jobs.”
The charity’s nearest facility is at Swanmore Village Hall, and that will continue to operate.
Mr Smith said: “There is such a growing demand for dementia day care services. The site at Swanmore is full. We wanted a custom-built building that would support more clients and enable us to do more with them.”
He said the wellbeing centre will be aimed at older people looking to stay active and could accommodate anything from computer lessons to yoga.
The parish council also hope the plans could ease some of their parking problems. The new building would add around 60 spaces to the current car park, bringing the total to 140.
The estimated cost of the car park would be around £100,000, plus a grant toward it would come from Winchester City Council for £30,000.
Public car parks are generally the responsibility of the city council, but the parish is in negotiations to manage the spaces itself and keep the revenue.
Parish Cllr Terry Wilson said: “We have contributed the land so I don’t see why the city council should get the benefit of the land we give up. Why should we give up the land for nothing?”
At a meeting last week (Jan 14) councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposals, although Cllr Martin Livermore opposed the recommendation.
“There is no other open space in that area of the parish and with the increase in housing I cannot see where it would ever be replaced, so once it’s lost, it’s lost forever,” he said.