Winchester’s outdoor sports centre becomes a reality as construction work gets underway

The re-development of the University of Winchester’s sports grounds at Bar End in Winchester is now underway after Sport England formally pledged £908,514 to complete the funding required for the project’s completion.

The new facilities at Bar End include an Olympic standard 400m eight-lane athletics track with supporting field events, an all-weather hockey and general sports pitch, floodlighting and an extended pavilion.

The University of Winchester is leading the project with Winchester City Council. The Centre will provide first-class outdoor sports facilities for students and the entire Winchester community with schools, youth clubs and sports clubs such as Winchester and District Athletics Club and Winchester Hockey club already looking forward to the completion.

Vice Chancellor Professor Joy Carter commented: “I’m very pleased that we now have all the funding in place and work is starting on a project which will provide a step change in sports provision in Winchester. These marvellous facilities will benefit not just the University but the local community which is expected to take up 90 per cent of bookings.”

George Beckett, Leader of Winchester City Council added:“The City Council has put a million pounds into this project, recognising the benefits facilities such as these will bring to the community of Winchester and the wider district. We look forward to developing the talents of young people for sporting success, as well as offering the opportunity for residents to get active and take part in athletics on their doorstep.”

The green light for the project was first given in March 2007 when the University of Winchester secured planning permission for the re-development of its sports facilities at Bar End.

This is the second of two phases of the development of the Bar End sports grounds at a total cost of £3,370,000. The first phase was the construction of the new pavilion, developing car parking, the entrance road and landscaping.

In addition to the funding from Sport England, the University and Winchester City Council have put in over £1 million each and Hampshire County Council gave the project £210,000. It is hoped that a further £50,000 will be received from the SITA Trust (which distributes funding though the Government’s Landfill Communities Fund) and Winchester and District Athletics Club have enthusiastically helped to ‘back the track’ raising £22,000.

Construction work is now underway and the Sport England funding has given the project that final injection of cash it needed.

Lisa O'Keefe, Deputy Regional Director of Sport England South East said: “We are delighted that our investment in this innovative and exciting project will help to get more people doing more sport and contributing to Sport England’s target of an additional 300,000 adults doing sport for 30 minutes three times a week. It represents attractive sporting facilities accessed by the whole community including a range of sports clubs, committed to making Winchester more active.”

It is expected that the new facilities at Bar End will be completed in early 2008 with the pavilion extension later in that year.