Athletics track a real possibility for Winchester

A new £2.8m sports complex could be built at Bar End, Winchester.

Winchester City Council's Cabinet will soon be asked to approve the principle of providing a new athletics track, all weather pitch and extended pavilion at Bar End, Winchester, in partnership with the University of Winchester and Hampshire County Council. The three partners all have land that could be utilised as part of the complex.

Over £1,000,000 capital funding from the City Council could be put into the project, along with funding from the University of Winchester, which is also providing most of the land and the pavilion, Sport England and the Land Fill Tax Credit Scheme.

Professor Joy Carter, Vice Chancellor of the University of Winchester, said "We are delighted to be involved in this project. Working with our partners to develop our facilities at Bar End is of key strategic importance to the University."

Cllr Patricia Stallard, the City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport said "The development would provide an exciting opportunity for Winchester to thrive in sporting terms and potentially offer facilities that could allow us to host a training camp in the 2012 Olympics.

"Sport in Winchester is moving forward with the publishing of the Sports and Physical Activity Strategy and the City Council has a vision to work with others to improve access to high quality sport and recreation facilities by establishing multi-sports environments.

"The athletics track is just one part of a development that would enable the people of Winchester to have easy access to first class sporting facilities and tap into the potential of the many talented youngsters who live here."

The proposal is that an outdoor sports centre would consist of an 8-lane athletics track and field event equipment, an artificial turf pitch suitable for hockey training and football, an extension to the existing sports pavilion, and improved car park and access to the site.

Together with University clubs, three local clubs would be using the proposed facilities - Winchester and District Athletic Club; Winchester Hockey Club; and the Winchester and District Girls Football League. The proposed facilities will also be bookable by the wider community.

If the funding is approved it is hoped that the facility will be completed and open to the public by January 2008.