Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Winchester £25m sports centre given go-ahead

Leisure centre plan Image copyright Winchester City Council
Image caption The centre at Bar End would have a 50m pool, sports hall, squash courts and hydrotherapy suite

A new £25m sports complex in Winchester, with an Olympic-sized swimming pool, has been given the go-ahead.

The out-of-town centre at Bar End will replace the city's 42-year-old River Park Leisure Centre.

Winchester City Council planners approved proposals for the "high-quality, affordable" sports centre, with a 50m pool, sports hall, squash courts and hydrotherapy suite.

Work is expected to begin next year.

In 2013, the council sparked protests when it announced plans to rebuild the existing centre and expand it into River Park, which campaigners called "Winchester's only park".

Image copyright Winchester City Council
Image caption Plans include an Olympic-size swimming pool
Image copyright Winchester City Council
Image caption The centre will have a multi-purpose sports hall

Plans for the new centre have been recommended for approval at a meeting of the city council's planning committee.

The existing building at North Walls is due to be demolished and the site offered for reuse.

The new centre, developed in partnership with the University of Winchester, The Pinder Trust and Hampshire County Council, is expected to be completed in 2021.

Image copyright Richard rogerson
Image caption The authority said the River Park Leisure Centre's ability to meet the needs of a growing population was limited

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