A Covid testing site at a theatre in Basingstoke will close next week, The Gazette can reveal.

A walk-in testing centre was set-up at the Anvil in October to cope with a rise in demand for testing and concerns over accessibility for tests.

In recent weeks, as the number of Covid cases in the country has dwindled, it has been open for symptomatic testing in the morning and for residents to pick up rapid asymptomatic tests in the afternoon.

But the Department for Health and Social Care has confirmed to The Gazette today that it will close from next Tuesday, April 6.

It is understood that a mobile testing unit will replace it, although details are yet to be released.

Staff at the site have been given notice of the impending closure.

A search on the government website reveals that the next nearest testing site is in Reading.

A spokesperson for DHSC said that a replacement testing site is expected to open "shortly after" the Anvil closes.

The spokesperson added: "We work with Local Authorities wherever possible on site selection, particularly when a site needs to be relocated.

"Local test sites are deployed at the direction of local teams. The co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been stood up."

Cllr Ken Rhatigan, leader of the council, told The Gazette that the closure of the Anvil testing site was "planned" and that there will be a replacement in due course.

When the Anvil first opened for Covid testing in October, no performances were scheduled there until 2021. However, the third national lockdown and preceding Tier 4 restrictions meant the resumption performances had to be delayed again.

But with lockdown restrictions easing according to Boris Johnson's roadmap, the Anvil are hopeful that performances will be able to resume soon.

At the time, the Anvil was one of five Covid testing sites which opened across Hampshire, including in Aldershot, Gosport, Havant and Winchester.

As previously reported, concerns were raised that symptomatic people would walk through the busy town centre or use public car parks to get to the site.