Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Proposals for £25m sports centre with Olympic pool agreed

Bar End leisure centre plan Image copyright Roberts Limbrick Architects
Image caption An artist's impression of the proposed new sports centre

A new £25m sports complex with an Olympic-sized swimming pool has been floated by council bosses as the solution to ageing leisure facilities in Winchester.

The new centre would replace the 42-year-old River Park Leisure Centre which needs at least £3m of repairs.

Winchester City Council has agreed to develop plans to build a new out-of-town centre at Bar End.

If it goes ahead, it is expected to take three years to complete.

The council said it would now develop a business case and finalise designs for the new complex which would include a 50m swimming pool.

The authority said it planned to borrow the money needed and also hoped to secure additional partnership funding from the University of Winchester.

The existing building at North Walls will be knocked down and the site then offered for reuse.

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

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

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