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Plans outlined for town entertainment hub

By Connor Steel / Photograph from Google Street View

PLANNING applications have been submitted to Fareham Borough Council seeking to transform a former town centre nightclub into an all-age entertainment site for local residents; with summitted documents including proposals for a bowling alley, arcade, bar, and restaurant to be created alongside changes to the shopfront.

The plans involve the closed Adastra’s nightclub at number 1 Vannes Parade, which can be found next to the Reel Cinema in the Fareham east ward of the town centre. It has been vacant for many years and  previously been criticised as an eyesore in Market Quay car park.

Developers – believed to be K.T.O. Limited – submitted their proposals in late September, with a decision likely in November. They hope to open as quickly as possible, hoping to take advantage of a prime location both accessible by cars and public transport links. The company currently run an entertainment facility in the Bournemouth area with hopes that a new site will bring families and friendship groups together in the local area, with the nearest such facility currently located in the heart of Gunwharf Quays.

It is believed that tenpin bowling will be the key feature, replacing the now-Matalan facilities previously available in Newgate Lane.  Also available is ‘play-to-win’ games that will allow tickets to be won, which can be exchanged for prices that may range from sweets to high value products.

The bar and restaurant, although in the same building roof, is set to be separated with alcoholic drinks available for adults to enjoy. If approved food will also be limited to a menu of fresh homemade pizzas and paninis; with other choices available when or if the venue reaches an opening.

Despite concerns over gambling and ‘youth’ behaviour issues that could arise, the overwhelming majority of residents are delighted that this neglected and derelict site could see development. It comes at a time when six shops including Poundland, Beales and Debenhams have shut since late 2019; with jobs being created and a new entertainment hub creating business for the local economy.

And despite no costing information being released by developers, it seems the proposals are extremely likely to be accepted by the Borough Council with leader Sean Woodward welcoming the news in a Facebook post on his page recently. He said on October 11:

“Good to see a planning application to turn the long-closed Adastra’s pub/night club in Market Quay into a bowling alley., arcade, bar and restaurant.  If this is agreed by Fareham Borough Council it will add positively to the town’s nightlife in addition to the cinema and many restaurants.”

The full planning application for the proposed entertainment ‘hub’ can be seen via this case tracker link, which includes some finer details such as opening hours and the layouts of the site. Also listed is comments from residents and survey files from bodies such as Environmental Health, with regular updates expected over the coming weeks. Files are available to download and open to scrutiny, with a public consultation expected to take place once the first hurdle of planning permission is granted.

If approved this redevelopment will join similar projects for the town centre, with the vacant Poundland building being transformed into an additional pop-up jobcentre due to open in early 2022 to cope with increased benefit claims due to the pandemic. Plans to build a hotel in the town centre and homes around the Red Lion Pub were also submitted in recent years, but it is unknown whether these will materialise despite positive reactions from residents.