IT WAS a flagship development for a Southampton community in desperate need of regeneration.
The Eastpoint Centre was the multi-million-pound face of the new-look Thornhill estate and was intended to epitomise the changing fortunes of the community.
But now the state-of-the-art building’s future as a conference and community centre is looking under threat after those in charge filed for administration.
The £10.5m centre was opened just over two years ago. It was funded using at least £6m of taxpayers’ money along with private investment.
Yesterday prospective administrators confirmed that are in talks with a view to being officially appointed within a week.
A spokesman said that the trustees who manage the Eastpoint Centre were seeking advice regarding its future.
Having consider the “financial and trading position” of the two companies that jointly run the centre in Bursledon Road, a notice of intention to appoint administrators had been filed, he added.
Despite the move, the centre, a registered charity, is continuing to trade and is, for the time being, remaining open with its workforce of 23 staff.
A statement issued on behalf of the centre through prospective administrators Baker Tilly said: “It is envisaged that administrators from Baker Tilly will be appointed within the next seven days.
“Both companies are continuing to trade as normal whilst steps are taken to secure the long term future of the Eastpoint Centre.”
The news was described as “a blow to the image of Thornhill” by ward councillor Matt Stevens.
He said the city council had been informed of the problems at the centre.
“We have been told that the centre is no longer financially viable and it was going into administration. It saddens me that this has happened but it appears to be the result of the economic downturn that is being felt across the board.”
When asked what he thought this would mean for the regeneration hopes of Thornhill, Cllr Stevens said: “It is a blow for the image of Thornhill but it should not be forgotten that this was one of a number of projects that were funded as part of that regeneration bid, some of which continue to be hugely successful.
“Clearly the economic downturn has had an impact on the fortunes of the Eastpoint Centre as it was a business plan that stacked up at the time which was supported by investors and stakeholders.”
Trustee of the centre Councillor Mary Lloyd said: “We’ve been aware for some time of this threat, and now we know it’s happening unfortunately. We are looking as a council on positive uses for the site going forward.”