A FOUNDATION stone has been dug up and preserved as part of plans to knock down a church and build a new doctors’ surgery in Basingstoke.

The ambitious project to build a brand new surgery, dental practice, pharmacy and a new Methodist church is soon to get under way at the junction of Western Way and Pinkerton Road, in South Ham.

But all involved have made sure the foundation stones are to be preserved for use in new community buildings on the site.

The stones were part of the original St Andrew’s Hall, which were laid on June 29, 1955, near St Andrew’s Church.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet member for finance and property, Councillor Ranil Jayawardena, visited the site to see the stones in place for the last time, accompanied by medical professionals and others involved in the scheme.

The council, which is investing £3.2million, is working in partnership with the NHS on the project, which is due to be completed by summer 2012.

Cllr Jayawardena said: “It seems fitting that we are marking the history of this site as work starts to create 21st century facilities for local people. This project will make a real difference and demonstrates our continued commitment to communities across the borough.”