A LONG-empty Winchester office block is set to reopen as a new health centre in January 2015.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has taken the lease on Avalon House on Chesil Street.

Cllr Jan Warwick, portfolio holder for environment, health and wellbeing, told Cabinet yesterday (JULY3) about Southern’s plans to build a “health and well-being hub” in the centre of Winchester.

She said it would be a base for a range of services including community nurses, health visitors, mental health teams and children’s services.

All Winchester health visitors have been based for several years at Tidbury Farm near Bullington Cross, meaning a 20-mile round-trip for visits.

Avalon House is the former Winchester City Council planning office and has been vacant since 2007.