The new Ringwood Gateway public services building was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Kent on, Monday 29 October.
His Royal Highness was welcomed by the High Sheriff of Hampshire, Hallam Mills Esq; Chairman of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Andrew Joy; Chairman of New Forest District Council, Councillor Alexis McEvoy, and Town Mayor of Ringwood, Councillor Steve Rippon-Swaine along with representatives from the local community.
On arrival, The Duke was invited to view the public square area before being given a tour of the building, which opened to the public in May.
At the centrepiece of the public square are ornately carved timber sculptures and a seating area decorated with more than 200 pieces of artwork by local people.
The Ringwood Gateway has a BREEAM excellent rating for its sustainable design and brings together a number of services provided by Ringwood Town Council, New Forest District Council and Hampshire County Council under one roof, in an efficient and cost-effective way for the local taxpayer.
During his tour of the Ringwood Gateway, His Royal Highness was met by the partners who talked through the ambition of the project and sustainable design features of the building, before the official unveiling of the plaque.
Chairman of the project board and deputy leader of New Forest District Council, Councillor Edward Heron, said: “We are very honoured to have had The Duke of Kent formally open our new Ringwood Gateway building. The visit has given us the opportunity to showcase the benefits that can be delivered for our local communities by working in partnership.”
Ringwood Town Mayor, Councillor Steve Rippon-Swaine, said: “We are delighted that we have brought together all three authorities in one building in the heart of Ringwood to provide a cost-effective service for our residents.”
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, added: “The Ringwood Gateway is also home to a new facility provided by the County Council’s Registration Service which is already proving to be a very popular venue for ceremonies.
Over 40 ceremonies have been hosted at the Gateway since it opened its doors to the public earlier this year. It is also a flexible work base for County Council staff based in the New Forest area delivering local services in a more efficient way.
“Overall, the building is another example of successful public sector co-location in Hampshire – an approach that is attracting positive acclaim from Government. Working smarter alongside our partners to share assets means we can deliver even greater value for money for Hampshire residents.”