Next steps on River Park Leisure Centre

Press Release: 03/02/2014

River Park Leisure Centre entrance

The next steps in deciding the future of the River Park Leisure Centre will be taken at a meeting of Winchester City Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 12 February.

Councillors will be asked to confirm that replacement of the existing River Park Leisure Centre is their preferred approach and to agree further investigation of three locations based on the outcome of the recent public consultation.

The three are:

  • Bar End
  • The site of the current River Park Leisure Centre
  • Land at North Walls currently occupied by the tennis courts, artificial pitch and the minimum necessary additional land adjacent to the existing leisure centre.

Cllr Keith Wood, the Leader of Winchester City Council, said:

We have listened to the strongly-voiced and widely-differing responses from the public consultation. No consensus has emerged about the form or location of a new leisure centre but there is strong support for the argument that replacement of the existing building with facilities which are larger and able to provide high-quality leisure into the future would be better than to spend significant sums on refurbishing River Park as it stands.

Before the Council can take a decision on the location of a replacement facility it is essential that it has more information and detail.

The report to Cabinet recommends that the City Council should hold further discussions with the University of Winchester and Tesco. The University has recently changed its position and now suggests that it may be willing to contribute significant funding towards new leisure facilities under certain conditions. Tesco owns land at the Garrison Ground at Bar End and clarification of their position is required.

The potential for funding from the University means that the option of a 50m swimming pool can also be considered alongside the mix of leisure facilities agreed in September 2013.

A comprehensive report will be prepared for consideration and a final decision later in the year involving Cabinet, the Overview & Scrutiny Committee and full Council.