A derelict and disused building in Winklebury is set to be demolished next week, following a number of incidents of antisocial behaviour.

The former Play Council building in Winklebury Way has been empty since 2014 and, despite efforts from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to keep the site secure,it says the building has been subjected to a number of break-ins.

To deter further antisocial behaviour and the impact it has on local residents living near the site, as well as the significant cost to bring the building to an acceptable standard, the council has now appointed a specialist contractor to demolish the building.

This work will start on Monday, March 22, with the project anticipated to last two weeks. The council wants to reassure residents that contractors working on site will follow the government’s COVID guidance as well as construction safety practice.

The council continues to work closely with VIVID and the CCG on options for the site including the potential for proposed healthcare provision.

It comes after the Gazette reported on VIVID's plans to 'modernise' the Winklebury Centre next door, 'forcing out family businesses' in the process.

Cabinet member for regeneration and property, Cllr John Izett said: “Following a number of incidents of antisocial behaviour at the site, the council took steps to secure the building and our community safety patrol officers have been carrying out patrols to provide a reassuring presence.

“Antisocial behaviour of any form is unacceptable and has a big impact on our residents. After listening to concerns raised by local residents and councillors, work will begin next week to demolish this empty and derelict building to prevent further antisocial behaviour in the short term.

“It is important that this council-owned site in the centre of Winklebury is put to good use and our discussions with housing association VIVID and the NHS via the CCG to deliver a potential redevelopment of the site for new healthcare provision are continuing."

VIVID denies claims that it is forcing out family-run businesses from the Winklebury centre and says it is 'working with them' to find alternative retail space while work is undertaken, and to offer them units in the new centre.