Read the many comments from locals residents and others here
This is green space I have used recreationally ever since I was born. I learned to ride my bike, play football, tennis and cricket.
I had every intention of moving back here and raising my own children in the area for the vast amounts of green space available and the Hyde community as a whole.
Do Winchester City Council have ANYTHING on their current agenda than we the people actually want? These people are supposed to represent us and voice our opinions. This demonstrates all they seem to be interested in is their own legacy, not the legacy of the people.
This whole plan screams corruption, with the finger pointed firmly at you Keith Wood. you aren't even living in Hyde?! How dare you meddle in our affairs.
In principle we should aim to keep green space and that a new sports centre should be easily accessible by walking/cycling and public transport. [Oh the irony of folk driving to keep fit]. But I don't see much discussion or comprehension that building on the current sports centre footprint will mean a loss of facilities for two years or so.
Where will 2 year cohorts of children start learning to swim or take up other sports? As well as all the other users of current facilities.
Do up the existing place.Refurbish using ecologically sound materials.If the Centre has to shut then so be it.
The recent flooding in River Park does raise the very important question - if you were choosing a site for a recreation centre in Winchester would you choose a site on an inundated flood plain or would you look elsewhere - like the Barton Farm development area?
Yes, it's handy for people to walk to the current leisure centre - but that would be true of a new centre in the Barton Farm development. Different people, living in a different place, but just as convenient for a similar number of people.
Flooding would not be an issue in Barton Farm and there is plenty of space there that Cala Homes should be delighted to make available. City Centre traffic not a problem either. The current car park could be returned to better recreational use.
Totally agree with the work you have done, doing and will certainly go on to do.
Green spaces are under threat, many protected by legal legislation - building on them surely can't be our best option?
I definitely will be keeping updated with the situation!
Gratis for Public Action
Why not redesign what is standing but make the build more inkeeping with the whole surrounding? Like turning all the windows into stainglass - with design reflective of the environment in which it dwells. Design the roofs with eco an community friendly resources and ideas - ie. build a leisure centre 'garden' with beehives - lavish perhaps but more relevent to the needs of many local people. There is so much space for parking and plenty of additional parking in walking distance, the idea of the car park being built more so is irrelevent to the issue which is addressed. The danger of more car activity is only one threat towards the local communitity but building a multi-storey car park will attract unwanted loitering and intimidation (which being a resident of Winnall and encountering how the council address issues of intimidation is just embarrassing and problematic). The council should work with the leisure centre to encourage more cycling in this area, for example - builiding bike sheds and more cycle friendly roads - this would encourage more activity at the lesuire centre and encourage a better, healthier community whom can enjoy a beautiful idylic scenery too.
Whilst I fully support the passion for the protection of green spaces shown here, the reaction to the WCC proposals appear to me to be so far out of kilter with the actual schemes put forward, this campaign should be embarrassed! I therefore feel I should voice an alternative view. Please ensure it is added to your website. The existing building is a shocking architectural blight on Winchester - it is ugly and is in a terrible state of repair. The pool leaks constantly, and when is rain, buckets have to be placed to catch the water. It needs to be replaced! Yes, it will mean the loss of some space, but not the entire cricket field, and not even enough of it to stop people playing cricket! Between 5 - 10m off the rec is suggested in Option 2 - this is less that 1%
Yes, the proposals are not fully costed - but that's the point. That's how consultation works - you try to gauge peoples feelings about something before progressing too far. If WCC had put forward a fully costed option, you would now be complaining that it was a fait accompli and that you hadn't been consulted.
Moving the leisure center to Bar End is the only alternative to developing this land and that would be a disaster for what is already a congested city. It would require everyone who can currently use sustainable, car free modes of transport to drive. Winchester is already one of the highest carbon emitters per capita in the country, and this will only make the situation worse.
Also, I can so no answer as to what would happen to the site if the center is moved to Bar End. This should be of as much of a concern. If WCC do not use the site, then they will be seeking to maximise their capital receipt to pay Tesco for the Bar End site. (Or perhaps they'll do a land swap? I'm sure Tesco would jump at the chance!)
Or perhaps it would be more housing - something which Winchester desperately needs in order to meet the current housing shortage. But is this really the right use of this land?
Either way, losing this vital public service from the city center would be a disaster for Winchester and the fitness of its inhabitants. We should demand to keep both - the green and the center.
I ask you all to please consider the wider implications of what you're putting reacting against. WCC can definitely do better, and the proposals need to under go extremely thorough scrutiny, but what is proposed is away of keeping this facility in the city center without the excessive loss of the green spaces and that must the priority.
and our response...
Thank you for your comments.
The original proposals were to take up a significant part of the field. In the Savills report it states “The building would occupy most of the area of the existing pitch, resulting in a complete change in character from open recreation ground to built development”. The new plans do not say exactly how much green field would be required. However even if it was just 5 - 10 m this would be more than 1% - the field would need to be 500 to a 1000 metres long for this to be true. This is the only public cricket ground in Winchester and in order for it to be useable it needs to be 450 feet in diameter. Even the minimum amount of land loss proposed would result in the field no longer being suitable for cricket.
Maintaining the remaining field will also become an issue due to the height of the new build and the lack of sunlight to the remaining grass.
We feel that the public display was inadequate. The plans the council provided state the drawings were only indicative and not to scale, thus we are unable to judge how much of an impact the proposed building would have. Also in the disadvantages column it states “loss..of recreational space, exact amount to be determined”. Thus it may not just be 5-10m of field lost, but a much higher amount.
The plans also failed to include the extra car parking spaces needed, the proposed height of the new build, any proposed access roads and the possible change to the one way system, putting a primary school slap bang into the centre of Winchester’s traffic.
We agree that the current leisure centre needs some serious work - and many of us do not wish to see it moved to Bar End for the reasons that you state. But the option of doing a re-build on the existing site has not been offered in the consultation (and yet plans exist and it HAS been costed). Why is this option costed and the others aren't?
We are demanding to keep the green - and our preference would be for the centre to remain on its current site as you suggest, we want a leisure centre that is right for Winchester.
The plan seems to be a trojan horse for smuggling in additional revenue-generating parking space that will a) remove valuable green space and b) add too the ever-increasing volume of traffic in Winchester. Why 300 spaces? Would 300 plus people be using the leisure centre at any one time? It's a centre for health and exercise so there should only be a few disabled spaces, coach spaces and lots of bike racks! And build up and down not out. Preserve this unique green space for everybody - now and in the future.
The green space is precious and beautiful. We have walked, picnicked and played there. It would be terribly sad to lose any of it for future generations.
The current open space should be preserved for free recreation and exercise for residents and visitors, not built over. It is time to stop covering every bit of green space we can find with buildings.
Many compelling points have already been advanced against the current proposal so I won't reprise them; instead I want to focus on two points. The first, as a report by The Woodland Trust recently clarified, is that provision of open green space in city centres greatly reduces costs to the NHS. The second, and related point, is that use of Central city green space is free - it can be used by anyone and everyone as equals, it is in the truest sense a democratic space and we have so few of these that it is worth treasuring. In this age of austerity, equality is best served by maintaining open spaces of free activity.
Professor David Owen
As a voter for some 30 years in Winchester I find the plans for the REC and the council's preference for Option 2 to be completely unacceptable
My answer to the consulation is not one of the 4 options should be approved
We need to save the rec. Seriously, in 2013 in an ancient city, how can this be a debate?! To lose any green space in the city is simply stupid & short-termist. If this were to happen, just imagine how ridiculous history would show this decision to be.
There are other options. The right thing's to take the option that doesn't impact green space.
The recreation ground should be kept as it is, as a local nanny in Winchester I think it will be a real shame to loose this great space for children, families, dogs ect to play! I don't know anyone in favour of this being turned into a new leisure centre! They should just re vamp the leisure centre that's currently there!
I have helped look after my grandchildren in Winchester for 5 years from the time they were babies. They have loved the rec in all seasons, in their prams,( the trees,the skies, the water ,the ducks, the dogs, the football and cricket ), They have loved it learning to walk, they have loved it as they learned to run. Its quality lies in the EXTENT of this wide open green space. It must be one of Winchester's greatest assets.. It would be a tragedy to lose it. You see, I have learned to love it, too..
We walk our dog in the rec often, it is a very valuable green space and we enjoy using it. As a contrast I have never used River Park Leisure Centre despite living in Winchester for some years. Winchester really does not need a 50m swimming pool and I say that as a keen swimmer. Please don't build on the rec!
I think it is terrible idea and everyone uses the green space more than the leisure centre. My brother uses it for football everyday, my Dad sometimes plays cricket and my sister and I use it for running round.
The taking of more recreational ground from the north walls rec for another leisure centre to be built is unbelievable.
When I was a young man the whole of the present leisure centre and car park were cricket pitches and trees. With the grounds mans house now still there but used as some business enterprise now. So if this new leisure centre goes ahead Winchester will have lost Half its north walls rec in the last 45 years. To greedy councils after ever more revenue from larger leisure centre fees and car park fees. At present as one walks through the park on weekends especially you notice that all the remaining rec area is totally used by children and adults playing various sports. Is this to be lost to future generations just to fulfil some councillors dream of a bronze plaque with their names on it. To be long forgotten in the fullness of time.
I don't understand why the council would want to destroy an area used for numerous different reasons by every single generation within Winchester from the very young to the very old?
Families, friends and individuals all use this area as a space for dog walking, relaxation, exercise, socializing, fresh air, team sports
etc.. the list goes on and on.
To then build on it an establishment that can only be accessed by a select few with enough money to pay for the facilities inside, who are willing to exercise in close proximity with other gym-freaks who judge every person walking through the doors, who can only use it at certain times of day due to opening times, is to completely take away the freedom of the area.
The green surrounding the existing leisure centre is one of very, very few areas within Winchester that are easily accessible yet once you arrive there, feel like you are in the middle of the countryside.
As soon as the new leisure centre and car park begin to be built, the sense of peace and tranquility within this area will be shattered, as those hoping for an area to relax or exercise in peace and quiet will be disturbed by the sounds, sights and smells of a building site, therefore from the minute the council begins their new plans they have destroyed a place that has become part of so many of the residents of Winchester's daily routines, and this peace will never again be restored due to the excess volume of cars entering the area.
Winchester is a small city, it doesn't need a massive fitness centre as there are already several other smaller ones popping up all over the place in areas you wouldn't have even realised. If it is the swimming facilities they want to improve, why not build another swimming pool and changing room in a different area of the city, dividing the residents between these smaller areas rather than forcing the entire city to use the same facilities.
Really don't understand the logic of the council! They need to focus on the happiness and opinions of the residents rather than what is going to make/save them the most money!!
I would like to suggest a boycott of the existing Leisure Centre and organised "outside activity" days on the site of the proposed development to promote the superior value of fresh air recreation.
I think that it is a bad idea to build a new leisure centre.
I believe that to redevelop the majority of North Walls Recreation Ground to accomodate a much expanded River Park Leisure Centre would be to rip out the heart and soul of one of Winchester's treasured open spaces.
Let's think for a moment as to what would be given up. This isn't just a cricket pitch. This is where people walk their dogs, where Winchester gets together for Firework Night, where Park Run congregates every Saturday. No fireworks in North Walls Rec means no torchlit procession in town. All for a bigger swimming pool.
I used to live in Monks Road, although now I am even closer into town, and I can't begin to imagine the additional traffic that will pour into Gordon Road and the surrounding streets.
I am sure the residents of the local streets around Hyde will not be too happy about the thought of what will happen to house prices in their neighbourhood.
Winchester clearly does need additional provision for sports facilities, and this is not a "Not In My Back Yard" letter. I simply believe that the site is wholy unsuitable for it to be based there.
I urge the City Council to think about this one again.
River Park is a wonderful green space for children and adults. It enables people to exercise in the open air in a safe environment and to enjoy the wildlife and streams running through it. The beauty of the trees and sense of space in near proximity to the rest of the city is important to people's wellbeing.
The current Leisure Centre is perfectly adequate and never particularly full. A little money spent refreshing the décor would be far better than building an unnecessary and unwanted replacement. Listen to the community of Winchester and leave the park as it is.
I am really really sad that a lot of green space might be destroyed in Winchester. Me and my brother learnt to ride our bikes on the green space of River Park. People should not be allowed to build anything on that space because many children and grown-ups and dogs all enjoy that space.
In winter the snow lands so nicely there and it is a great place to build igloos, snowmen and to have snowball fights.
I would rather play outdoors than inside a leisure centre.
I am heartbroken that this might actually happen. It will make people really angry because they will all have lovely memories of that green place and will not want to see that ruined.
I felt really sad when my Mum told me that the green space was going to be destroyed. I think it is better that you leave it to the children to play and not destroy that greenery. Leave it in peace!
So far this ancient city of Winchester has somehow retained much of its character, green spaces mark out its history and help to retain that element. The Council does not have the moral right to propose changes to which a large number of people enjoy as a historical right. If they do, they will pay at the ballot.
I am agreement with all the above. I have lived and worked as a GP in the Winchester locality for 20 yrs. ( now recently retired )
When I served on the Council Health and Wellbeing Committee, the issue of sustainable communities was a topic on the agenda. I had thought that the importance of city green space for the physical and mental well being of all age groups was understood, but it seems to have bypassed the counsellors proposing this project.
The field in question is a safe and well used recreational space for everyone, including the frail, young and forgetful! The focussed, driven and competitive sportsmen need to be set to work with Tescos. Times are hard and unless I can see a positive contribution from them to what is currently a very sustainable community, I shall not be shopping there.
Much effort has been spent on convincing us not to bring cars in to the city centre. There are two Park and Ride facilities on offer but now I understand you can envisage 300 parking places where the Riverpark now stands. Why this what-seems-to-me change of policy?
What about an Outdoor Gym as an extra facility?
THE NEW LEISURE CENTRE SHOULD BE BUILT AT BAR END. WE NEED TO LEAVE THE PARK AT NORTH WALLS AS IT IS.
We can easily walk to River Park from our home in Winnall which only takes us 20-30 minutes with 3 children under the age of 9 years. It's like our second home. Our family love this space with all the lovely trees around. It's a place to sit and have a picnic, ride a bike, scooter, walk, kick a ball, throw a frisbee, feed the ducks, enjoy the fireworks display each year, take part in the cycle events each year. Its so tranquill and special and quiet and lovely and a stone throw away from the indoor leisure centre in case we need the toilet or cafe. We will relax on the grass, watch the dog walkers and people go by. My 3 children will miss this space so much. Traffic will be awful to get to the leisure centre - it is already bad. We go to the leisure centre several times a week using the swimming pool (lessons and for fun), tennis courts, gymnastic classes, birthday parties, badminton, roller skating discos, open fun days, meeting friends, walks, playground, skate park, canoeing. We think its a bad idea to build on the recreation ground. Its such a dense area with a school (with extra bigger classes, nursery, more houses) - it will feel so much more cramped and congested and feel more like a london city rather than a city away from london.
A truly terrible and nonsensical proposal. As far as I am aware, no one has asked for more sports facilities. Quite apart from the loss of green space which, as has been pointed out, will NEVER be restored, the implications for increased traffic in the heart of our city are horrendous. As well as further eroding the character of Hyde, consider the consequences of Park Avenue becoming the exit point for the proposed new leisure centre, intersecting as it does with the city's one-way system in North Walls. Madness!
Then there are the implications for pedestrains. Not only do we have a busy primary school - St Bedes - at one end of that road but the road itself bisects the Art School campus, with individual students crossing between art departments many times each day.
Furthermore, we have few community spaces left within the city - I can only think of the Cathedral Close - but River Park is at present a truly public green space, open to all for running free in whatever way we choose. As the city expands ever outwards, it becomes even more imperative that we preserve its heart and lungs.
If we must have a bigger sports facility, it should be built out at Bar End, or factored into the plans for the Barton Farm developments. The proposals would necessarily bring every single user from outside the city centre into our already traffic-choked city, actively encouraged by the enlarged car parks.
Councillors, please think again! This plan is even more ill advised than the one which gave us that well-known blot on the city landscape, The Brooks Centre...
The Chronicle advises that River Park sporting facilities are to be doubled involving the “loss of a cricket pitch and green open space.” The old building will be demolished to make way for a 300-space car park, twice the size of the current one. This is disturbing as the River Park area is a green lung for Winchester.
Winchester has had many developments in the last 30 years. The Badger Farm development with the Sainsbury’s superstore, the Tesco hypermarket at Winnall, a multitude of housing developments along Chilbolton avenue, a new housing estate at Abbotts Barton being built now (2013), the housing estate in Abbotts Road, the 60 bed care home at Abbotts Barton (built 2001), the Brooks Centre, the creation of 15 flats if not more behind the houses in Park Road, the new housing block along City road, 3 very high new student blocks for King Alfred’s University by the hospital, the “Laundry” in Gordon Road, a new housing development at Grange Close in St cross, Bath Place at the back of Chilbolton avenue, the creation of Sunrise House where the old cinema was in North Walls, Barton Farm ….. one could go on. Winchester is being overbuilt. Residents of Winchester are not NIMBYs.
River Park is a wonderful green space in the centre of Winchester well landscaped. I walk the dog and play tennis there and know that between 5 pm to 8 pm during the weekdays in the Spring, Summer and Autumn months it is very well used. People use it because it is so local. Do we really want to destroy another Green area of Winchester?
If it was to provide housing then I would have fewer objections
One wonders if we need more sporting facilities? In the last 10 years I have been aware of deep discussions about the development of the HCC building, Mark Oaten, payments to HCC and NHS staff for redundancy, Market Traders in the High Street, the Easton roundabout, Parking facilities in Winchester where there is either too much or too little, Park and Ride, Housing and most recently Barton Farm. I am not aware of any great demand for more sporting facilities which necessitates the removal of a green space and will create more traffic.
If it is proposed the library should be expanded I can understand this as it seems crowded, but I can't see where the demand for more sporting facilities has come from.
Must the car park be doubled to 300 spaces when Winchester has 19 acres given over to parking which could have a much better economic use. They are ugly dead places and this one will increase north Walls traffic which already clogs up Winchester.
I urge the council to think again.
This would be a big mistake. I grew up in Winchester and my family still live there. I have so many memories of the parks, from my school sports day, fireworks, dog walks to playing with friends and to build on top of one of them including the cricket pitch and some of the tennis courts is the wrong decision.
Do not destroy the green parts of Winchester!
I believe that we have no right to take away any green space to create a leisure centre and especially land ( including Bar End) that is used so widely at all times of the year including sports! It fundamentally does not make sense. (perhaps the council could consider their carpark space at Bar End and use the 'park and ride' created as everyone else has to travelling to Winchester!
The Local Council is completely lacking in vision in their approach to the task and the community and I question completely the true motivation for the proposed new leisure centre with a complete lack of consideration of alternative ideas. I was deeply concerned by the patronising response from the council at the meeting when so many people were against the proposal and the complete lack of inclusive approaches. I would refer the council back to the "plain english guide to localism bill 2011" written by the Department of Local communities and Local Govt where
"This Act passes significant new rights direct to communities and individuals,making it easier for them to get things done and
achieve their ambitions for the place where they live". Note page 15 on neighbourhood planning where clearly the Winchester council feel that this is only by invitation!
To destroy such beautiful landscape that is so highly regarded surely goes against any community interest in this current day... and for the future of our families.
Apart from the loss of green space in the park the Council proposals aim to have a one way system along Gordon Road and out through Park Avenue. This will speed up traffic through areas frequented by school children (Gordon Road) and students (Park Avenue). Also, traffic emerging from Park Avenue would inevitabley make Middle Brook Street a busy thoroughfare once again.
Best place for a larger and more heavily used recreation centre is Bar End.
why oh why destroy a last vestige of green space that makes winchester very unique. The traffic, currently horrendous, in the city centre will only become worse. Bar end offers a sensible space for development close to motoroway junctions and avoids traffic running through the centre of town and in a space that is not as cental to winchester community life.
Councillors !!! a plea .... just take some time to wander down from your ivory towers and spend a morning in spring, summer or whenever at riverpoark and observe and watch with your own eyes to see what this spaces offers. Do you really want to be the ones to be remembered for removing it especially as Bar ed offers a far better option . I think not
Surely this requires no analysis whatever. Anyone visiting this city from anywhere in world would be impressed by the public, green space as it is, its place in the equilibrium of the community, and would regard any plan to encroach upon it as being concocted by barbarians with absolutely no appreciation of or sensitivity to the city, and the space, that is Winchester.
If we allow this proposal to be implemented, we are short-changing future generations of Winchester residents. Once green space is gone, it is gone forever. What sort of generational bequest would that be?
City councillors must give a proper opportunity for consultation when they make proposals of this level of impact. It is simply not acceptable that our elected representatives have failed to properly scrutinize the plans presented by council officers. Councillors be warned, there will be no clemency at the ballot box if you simply rubber-stamp whatever is presented to you without performing due diligence.
Absolutely crazy. Please leave our green spaces alone they are invaluable. There should be much more of an effort made to utilise the space & facilities of the current leisure centre rather than always seeking new shining schemes.
I am strongly opposed to this proposal. My sons grew up in Hyde and this open space was far more valuable to them than the leisure centre. The main playing field is a focal point for informal recreation and ouside sports in Winchester and must be kept intact for future generations.
I was at the meeting on Thursday, but unfortunately, came away more incensed than I was before. Nothing was said that convinced me that this proposal is not a "done deal" which is going to be rushed through planning for some reason, regardless of local opinion or the impact on health or the environment.
I am told the decision making body is Full Council, all 57 members listed on the WCC website. Each one should be written to expressing our strenuous objections to this proposal.
I should also like to know how much effort has been made to contact Tesco regarding the alternative site at Bar End? It sounds like only half hearted attempt has been made so far. It was lamely suggested to members of audience that they try to get a reply from Tesco, who will not engage in dialogue with the Council, so I intend to do just that too.
I feel most upset for our children who make so much use of this field and who are unlikely to be able to spontaneously use a Leisure Centre without adult supervision. Rather than running around in the fields they will be sitting at home in front of electronic equipment instead. Where is the common sense?
So after the packed meeting, what now? As individuals, un-organised, can we protect the park? And yes it is Not-In-My-Backyard, but if we don't protect it, who else will? Afterall, how many of us wrote letters to save the park by Charles Close?\
So what will be the impact of Thursday night's meeting? Steve Brine undertook afterwards to tell Keith Wood and his colleague to "Go back to the drawing board". Absolutely right. Will this be victory for the local residents - who actually represent 80% of the users of this currently under-used facility? I don't think Mr Wood can be in much doubt what almost everyone at the meeting thought of his leadership on this issue so far.
After attending the meeting last night it seemed to prove the point, although denied by Keith Wood, that any decision had not been made. The "preferred option" of building on the green space will undoubtedly be put to the full Council without real consideration of any other proposal so in effect there has been a decision. Accusations of nimby-ism was rife and to be expected, I think the the campaign to save the rec needs to go further afield, the residents of Winchester take this open space in the centre of the City for granted, it has always been there for them to use, they need to be made aware that they are in grave danger of losing it, it is a facility for everyone and should not be replaced by a Leisure Centre which will be to a certain extent exclusive to the sporting fraternity. One lady made the point that there are a great many who live in flats in this City and need this space for relaxing in. I hope that the powers that be will take on board the need for a genuine public consultation over the siting of this proposed Leisure Centre. All of us that are campaigning to stop the madness of siting it on the rec need to get together seriously as a protest group, organize strategies, petitions etc. Although I would not wish to lead this I would be more than willing to help.
A message for Keith Wood and all members of the City Council Committee who will eventually be making the decision as to whether or not to build on the playing fields at River Park.
Has it not occurred to the committee that when Barton Farm is built, far fewer people will be able to even get to the extended leisure centre. The idea of building a larger leisure centre near the athletic club at Bar End is far better. Residents on the edge of town would then be able to avoid the town centre and one way system completely by accessing the facility via the motorway or Kings Worthy. According to the Hampshire Chronicle, a spokesman from Tesco, the supermarket who owns the Bar End site, said that they are not aware of any approach from the council but are more than happy to discuss this further with Cllr Wood. I, myself, drove to the Leisure Centre from Weeke last Friday at 9 am and it took me 45 minutes to drive down - a journey which without traffic should take about 6 minutes - and 50 minutes to drive back home via Winnal in a bid to avoid the one way system. It has put me off using the Leisure Centre again. By building on the fields at River Park, not only will the residents of Hyde lose their playing fields but once the extra traffic of Barton Farm arrives (2000 new homes - 2 cars per house - 4000 cars) the one way system will be gridlocked. No doubt Winchester city centre will have to become pedestrianised and residents will be forced to drive to the Park and Rides on the outskirts of the city and catch buses into town and the Leisure Centre. Single people could ride a bike to the leisure centre to avoid the traffic but what about the elderly and young families? Less people will chose to use the Leisure Centre in its present location so why destroy perfectly good playing fields to build a larger one in the city centre. I cannot believe that the initial report did not look at locations as part of the brief. It would be far better to build the new and larger facility at Bar End and perhaps consider a Lido in future where the present Riverpark is situated - leaving the playing fields as they are for the use of the whole community. The original Lido in Worthy Lane was closed when Riverpark opened. Perhaps now is the time to open a larger lido area on the site of the present Riverpark when the new Riverpark is built at Bar End. Winchester is a wonderful place to live but the nearest Lilo is in Petersfield. It could become a very sociable Summer area which would be especially used by young families and the elderly during the day and the working population before and after work, as an additional means of keeping fit in the fresh air.
I have lived in Winchester almost my entire life. Some of my earliest memories are of the park and I have used the recreation centre several times a week for many years. Whilst I appreciate that facilities need replacing and updating, I feel strongly that the centre and the park remain at the current location which provides access to much of the community.
I cannot see the leap in logic that dictates the new location being on the central area of the park and believe that the council statements have totally glossed over the lack of any meaningful attempt to investigate the viability of siting the new centre on, or adjacent to, the current site. There is substantial exta space behind the current building that would allow the siting of a larger premises and could possibly facilitate the construction of a new building while parts of the old building continued to operate. This approach has been used elsewhere many times and would drastically reduce the loss of facilities during construction, without resorting to use of a greenfield site. Indeed, if the current sports hall section of the centre were demolished and the rest of the centre kept in operation for a limited period, then much of the new centre could be built on that site and the land behind, thereby keeping much of the centre in operation until the latter phases of the project.
I totally fail to see why the council have not considered this, or other similar solutions. The Council have failed to challenge themselves sufficiently before making such a significant long term proposal and should carry out a much more thorough and detailed investigation of all of the viable alternatives before a decision is made.
Appalling proposal by a cash-strapped Council desperate to pursue any stupid idea which will raise funds to help pay for their bonuses.
Open, green areas are already few and far between, especially one in such a beautiful location as River Park. This is insane.
I will be emailing my Councillor and telling him to follow the wishes of the people in his Ward, and not his own opinion.
It will be essential to establish, when it comes to a Council vote, how each Councillor voted, and we should then campaign to defeat at the next election those who voted in favour of this proposal.
I am a pensioner, live in Hyde, and walk almost daily across the recreation fields to the Winnall Nature Reserve to walk there. Every day I see families with children enjoying the open spaces, particularly at the weekend. In summer, I can stop and watch the cricket matches.
This proposal of the Council seems to me absolute folly, and I hope that those who are responsible will be brought to realise this.
This green space belongs to us, the people of this city, and must not be tampered with.
As a Winchester resident of 43 years, it seems to me extraordinary that this proposal could even be considered. There seems to have been little careful thought or vision for future generations nor any understanding of the area involved and its relationship with the people of Winchester.
In the same way as the High Street/Cathedral/College area is the beating heart of Winchester, so the leisure park/cricket field is the lungs. To deprive the city of this vital organ would be without precedent in recent years. No other area of the city provides so much pleasure and wellbeing for so many people.
I would urge those with the power and authority to do so to think again about placing one unnecessarily large complex on one sensitive site, and to try to find smaller, viable and sustainable alternatives here and elsewhere in the city.
This undemocratic proposal must not be allowed to go any further!
I concur with many comments already made, and have yet to hear from anybody who thinks this proposal is a good idea. The council appears to be taking a very "tunnel-vision" approach, which I hope now will broaden, given the huge amount of opposition to this ill-conceived scheme - opposition which has been given a voice through this site.
As a keen cricketer, I see hundreds of us enjoy this excellent facility over the summer months, and when cricket is not being played, it is used by countless people for all kinds of sporting and leisure activities, all year round. To lose this beautiful open space will rip the heart out of a unique part of our city.
I am no architect, but I am certain that with some careful and imaginative planning and design, the existing footprint of the current leisure centre and associated facilities provides ample space to enable a rebuild/refurbishment programme. If green space has to be used at all, then to use land to the east of the current building (skate park and beyond) would be a far preferable option, and have less impact on the surrounding area. A staged approach - suggested by many others - is surely a better way to proceed.
And use some land at Bar End, perhaps for a new (larger) swimming facility? There is already a state of the art running track at Bar End (recently constructed), so to add more sporting facilities to this area surely is a good thing. It is also a much more accessible site for those travelling by car. I gather this land is owned by Tesco, and that Tesco "won't talk" to the council. What a pathetic excuse.
I really do now hope that our councillors and local MP listen to the voices of those whom they represent, and call a halt to this insane proposal.
While I understand and accept that the current Leisure Centre needs updating and refurbishing as do, I think, most of the residents. I do not except the need for the massive expansion proposed, Winchester is not a metropolis, or the underhand way they have approached the whole process. The fact that this “Public meeting ” is by invitation only for Sports clubs and users of the centre! The exact people who would love a shiny new state of the art spacious Leisure Centre. (who wouldn’t ) But They’re not the people who have to live with the impact this expansion will have 24/7 365 days a year on Winchester, and Hyde in particular. Not forgetting 18 months of building noise, pollution, dust, fumes from the machinery and congestion that the resident’s will have to put up with, in what is a residential area. We have already put up with all that in the construction of Hyde park corner! As so many people have already stated in their comments, the extra traffic and congestion which is bad enough as it is. There are occasions when the traffic is so bad the queue backs up all the way from the bottom end of the car park to North Walls.
The loss of a much used and needed field, has anyone consulted the Frisbee club, the Rugby club, forces fit, the various running clubs, The dog walkers, the picnickers, the students who play football, the families who go to feed the ducks or teach their children to ride bikes or just go to let off steam, the cricket club, or the people who just want a quiet place to sit and enjoy the fresh air, the triathlon, bonfire night and the charities they support, St Bede’s Sports day, to mention just a few. The Answer is I suspect a big fat NO. I have not meet one single person in favour of the current proposal!
If it really does need more capacity which I doubt. The Leisure is rarely full to capacity as it is. There are plenty of alternatives which don’t seem to have been considered such as building an extra floor, or all the wasted space at the back of the current building, moving the skate park or the bowling green (already on the cards, I hear!) Alternatively build a second leisure in another part of town to split the load and the traffic. I’ve been told that the entrance might be in Nunn’s Rd with the current path used by countless people and children walking to and from school being turned into a road! But whether it’s there or Park Avenue, it is a major thoroughfare children going to and from school.
As for the case for the 300 space car park …….the only time the current is full to capacity is when there is a major event on or there is an antiques fair, but then there is St Peter’s car park and the car park adjacent to the Rugby Club, not to mention the other city centre car parks. The extra traffic is an accident waiting to happen with a school in the vicinity and lots of excitable kids running around. Why did the council spend millions on park and ride to keep people out of the city centre if the they are now encouraging people to come into to town, and if they think it’s just going to be used by leisure centre users and not by people just coming in to shop then they need their heads examined.
Once the space has gone it’s gone for good and spoil the look and feel of England ancient capital. For the sake of the few, it’s not worth it.
The present site of the leisure centre could surely be redeveloped in two phases with minimal disruption if the bowling alley, skateboard park and staff car park were included in the scheme. I gather that a phased approach has been used elsewhere, and is often used in big building projects (not least, cathedrals!).
Phase One: the sports hall could be demolished leaving leisure centre entrance, offices, gym, changing rooms and swimming pool intact. New adult and children's swimming pool, changing rooms and entrance (perhaps temporary), waterside cafe etc, could be built on part of the site formerly occupied by the sports hall, staff car park, skate board park and bowling alley.
Phase two: When phase one is operational, the rest of the old centre, including swimming pool, could be demolished and rebuilt. Connecting the two 'sections' might require closure of the whole site, but this would presumably take only a few weeks.
NO EXTRA PARKING IS NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE. EXTRA REVENUE CAN COME FROM CAFES/BARS/PARTIES ETC
If anyone knows someone with expertise on building leisure centres, or an architect, could they please give a more expert view on this proposal?
The destruction of green spaces in Winchester is a travesty. We are already loosing the beautiful green fields of Barton Farm and now this proposal to loose central green fields that are enjoyed by the whole of Winchester is beyond belief. There MUST be a better solution and, if not let's be grateful for what we have instead of destroying it for the sake of revenue.
It is an irony that a lovely green space used by many for physical activity and relaxation could become a building where you have to pay to exercise
Well done for getting this campaign going. We need to make it clear to our local councillors that any of them who vote for this crazy scheme will not be in local politics for very much longer.
You can't expect to keep your seat if you choose to destroy the very things you were elected to safeguard.
There are countless reasons why a new facility should not be built here; the loss of valuable limited green space; the proximity to the nature reserve & chalk streams that surround the fields and the ecological impact this would have; the environmental impact of a higher volume of traffic in the context of Winchester already being above permissible limits; the proximity to Hyde Abbey Garden and it's historical importance.
There are lots of ways we can challenge their plans if we all get together check out saveourgreenspaces.org.
I'm up for it if you are!
I understand the he City Council have put forward a proposal to develop a brand new leisure centre in the middle of the riverside recreational park, bang in the middle of the cricket pitch and then to demolish the current riverside leisure centre and create 300 car parking spaces.
This would result in a beautiful green space that has been used for generations being lost for ever! It is totally barmy, and I support the strong swell of local support to prevent this from being steamrollered through by the councillors. Surely, the current site can be redeveloped or an alternative site could be developed such as the areas earmarked for community facilities in Barton Farm!
I like the existing River Park Leisure Centre and use it a lot. But I and my family use the existing playing fields as much as anything else there. Please don't build on any of the existing green spaces at River Park, that would be a huge loss to the town. River Park is one of the few open spaces in town where children can safely get outdoors and run around freely. That's more important than any indoor exercise in my opinion.
It is very sad that in gaining new leisure centre the council feel it is appropriate to lose the precious green spaces within our city centre.
Why not consider using the space at Bar End (with easy access to a leisure centre from the motorway) so that my child can continue to enjoy the recreation grounds.
I do think we need more swimming space, the pool at River Park is hopelessly overcrowded and I have stopped even trying to go there.
However, I think they should leave it just as it is, and build a second pool out of town. It seems shortsighted to aim to end up with only one swimming pool. I believe both pools will be well used, especially since sadly many of the schools in town do not have their own pool.
This proposal is absolute madness!!! Remove an idyllic beautiful green field where folk can run around and roam in a safe outside environment and replace it with a fee paying building!!
There is nearly always something going on, whether it be cricket, rugby, frizby, football, kite flying, dog walking, picnics, schooll sports day...this is one of the social centres of the local and wider Winchester community.
With some imagination and desire by the council to keep as many open green areas, they must be able to see that something that can be done to regenerate the current rec. There is significant space already on the current site that is covered by just tarmac and could be utilised as extra rec space. Even if the excuse is that this is a parking area for staff, there is the North Walls car park very close by...
Given the polution levels are already high in the city centre, expanding the current car parking means that there is going to increased levels traffic and therefore pollution in and around the city centre, including St Bede School.
My children are very upset at the prospect of losing this field. Trying to explain the logic of this proposal to them...I can't!!!!!
I am shocked that this is even being considered. The green space they are planning on building on provides a great play space for families and young children, as well as a place for teenagers to hang out in the fresh air. We use it regularly to walk in and as time away from the hustle and bustle and world of concrete we seem to live in. I am absolutely against the plans!
We regret the loss of valuable freely available open space which result from the council's plans.
The designated space is heavily used by all age groups throughout the year, and is also the driest of the areas in the park. Other areas are used for organised sport and become extremely muddy and univiting in winter. Additional development on flood plain not a good idea.
There are also times when public space is limited if events e.g. Hat Fair campsite are taking place. What about the firework display - hugely valuable for local charities?
Additional traffic movements through narrow reisdential strrets and around one way system which is frequently v. slow and will be worse when Barton Farm is built! Perhaps new Rec should be built up there?
Indoor activities are no substitute for free play for children and exercise area for adults.
Roger & Carolyn Doorbar
I am opposed to this development on several grounds:
1. The case for the need for such a building has not been made.
2)?the North Walls area already exceeds pollution targets and 300 more parking spaces will increase this risk.
3) there is a school lying within this area. So children are subjected to poor air conditions which will worsen
4) there needs to be less centralisation of resources, not more. Basket ball courts, badminton, children's gym and play, karate and much more can and should be decentralised to the districts. This may need upgrading of community and school halls. But would be a cheap and effective option that does not require vast extra parking spaces close to the city centre which is increasingly bunged up with traffic.
5) the road s proposed would impact deleteriously on the character of Hyde
The green space at risk is among the most beautiful, unusual and precious resources in all Winchester. It is not only a place for children to meet and play, ride their bikes, parents to push babies in prams, people to walk their dogs, fly kites, have picnics, birthday parties and simply be together, but it is invaluable exercise space – healthy, outdoor exercise which is also communal: cricket, rugby, football, running races, Frisbee, rounders. It’s important to acknowledge that building on the suggested cricket pitch will affect the entirety of this green space, not just the pitch. A big, new, ugly building (I have little faith in the design) will overshadow and upset the balance and proportion of the whole green area, pushing it out to the edges, carving it up with new access roads and walkways, threatening riverlife and wildlife, and signalling that green space is marginal and not integral to our lives, and not a priority of this special city. It is more than taking away an existing quadrant; it will utterly change the way this green space is used and that will change what life is like in Hyde – and, by extension, the sort of city that Winchester is. This green space and the range of activities it engenders, and the range of people who use it from tiny babies crawling on the grass to senior citizens enjoying watching them, are things that the council should be proud of and should protect.
The River Park should be for everyone in Winchester, not just the people who want organised fitness sessions. They are already catered for in the existing leisure centre and the numerous facilities already available... Bereweeke, Winchester College, John Lloyd, the Pink centre in City Road, and the various playing fields from St Cross to the Rugby Club, from the Royal Winchester to Hockley golf clubs.
It is already used by thousands of people, walking dogs, relaxing with family or friends under the trees, just sitting on the benches enjoying the peace. They come from all over Winchester, not just Hyde, North Walls and Winnall. It's convenient for a break from the city centre bustle, a facility that is not duplicated at St Giles' Hill, Orams Arbour, the Rapids or the Water Meadows.
Rubbish idea. Keep the recreation ground. Just do up/replace the existing leisure centre. Everyone uses rec. Don't destroy the greeness. Madness!
I just can't believe that this is being proposed! Am horrified! We have so few green spaces in the city, and to build on this area which is so loved by many people, is just a terrible thing to do.
There are so many reasons why a large leisure centre should not be built on this much loved field, many of which have been already aired here. This insane proposal must have been promoted by those who have no substantial or long-lasting ties to the community in central Winchester or by those who simply do not understand or care about the benefits that this field brings to Winchester people.
Councillors: can you not see the irony of building a fitness centre on a field that is already accessible to all Winchester residents regardless of income and used in both a planned and spontaneous way to meet, walk, play and keep fit? Your plan is short sighted and out of step with national public health and environmental agendas. You and your planning consultants need to work harder to realise the vision outlined in the Fit4theFuture proposal: build at Bar End and maintain this whole recreation area as a place for leisure for the local city population.
Once this field is lost, it is lost forever. If it goes ahead, I guarantee that in 2040, those of us still here will be left with a building that is considered out of date and a blot on a once beautiful landscape. Our children and grandchildren will wonder what on earth people were thinking.
People can get in their cars and drive anywhere to stand on a machine to exercise, but once this precious green space is lost to us and our children we shall NEVER get it back.
Traffic in Winchester is already congested and pollution exceeds guidelines. This proposal does nothing to encourage sustainable travel nor make good use of the park and ride facility which was introduced with much zeal as a step towards reducing the congestion in the city centre!
This proposal should be of deep concern to all in Winchester; residents and visitors alike. This will do nothing to enhance the quality of life here however it is dressed up.
Presumably one of main reasons that the council have responsibility for sport (more than other forms of leisure and entertainment) is that there is felt to be a significant public health reason for providing sports facilities for the people.
From a public health point of view higher levels of physical activity/exercise are undoubtedly good for us in our relatively inactive society.
I am concerned that this proposal hasn't been looked at from the health point of view. Specifically inactive children are more likely to become inactive adults - behaviours set in childhood have a major impact on behaviour as an adult - and - although I am not an expert - I think how much exercise you do as a child affects your physiology as an adult. Certainly adults who are overweight find it difficult to lose weight. Investing in exercise for children makes sense.
Children are more likely to want to get their exercise running around a field, than going inside a gym with treadmill machines/exercise bikes etc. The threatened field is well used opportunistically by our children.
To prioritise indoor exercise over outdoor is short sighted and I think from a health point of view negligent of the council's responsibilities. At the very least the "Stakeholder Consultation" should have asked the opinion of public health scientists - I cannot see that this has been done.
I find it quite extraordinary that the council has even considered the option of building on a large part of the green space in the heart of Winchester. It is already planning to take a large chunk of green space in Abbots Barton which would suggest to me that residents there will require an alternative play/recreation area which is currently provided by the existing North Walls recreation ground. I do not have children but live in a street close to the Rec. and note how much it gets used by the children in the environs. They get the opportunity to play outside in a safe environment and it costs their parents nothing and gives kids the opportunity to learn and improve their social skills. Furthermore, the Rec is used by many, many other people for all sorts of activities including cricket, softball, Frisbie, football and generally keeping fit through running, outdoor circuit training etc. By maintaining such a brilliant facility of the open space of the Rec, it encourages activities that cost nothing but helps to keep people fit in both body and mind. Kids should be encouraged to play outside for many reasons. taking away half the Rec doesn't seem to me to help that cause.
The justification that weakens the case for the Bar End option is fallacious in comparison with its argument for building on the Rec, in that it states planning sensitivities and access problems as making it all too difficult. If it thinks that there are no planning sensitivities and access issues associated with building on the Rec, then it is totally blind to the impact it will have on local residents and visitors to the City.
In its dismissive approach to the Bar End option, it also talks of the impact of the visibility to the surrounding countryside. Has it considered the impact of a 300 place car park and a huge building - 68% bigger than the existing leisure centre - on the residents of Hyde. It seems to have turned a blind eye to the impact on the countryside of building on Barton Farm so why is it suddenly getting fussed about the proposed site at Bar End.
On an environmental impact issue, has the council considered that building on a flood plain could also increase the risk of flooding to the environs as there will be considerably less ground to act as a soak away?
On the subject of the 300 place car park, I was of the view that the council was dedicated to reducing the CO2 emissions in the City and was not encouraging the use of City Centre car parks. That being the case, I hardly think doubling the size of the existing car park would do anything but increase those emissions - quite possibly by all those extra people from Barton Farm (when it is built) who in their quest to stay fit, may drive the leisure centre - and prevent it from meeting its target emissions.
Overall, the plan to build on the Rec simply does not add up in terms of cost, benefit to the City, benefit to residents and particularly in environmental impact terms.
If there remains an overwhelming desire to build a new leisure centre then the Bar End option should not be dismissed because of the alleged difficulties associated with building on that site and it should be given far greater consideration as should the option of knocking down the existing building and starting again.
So, if I am clear the plan is to spend an extra - ordinary amount of our money - in times when there are cut backs being made to education , health and transport to exchange a beautiful, healthy, enjoyable space that is used for - cricket; tennis ; Frisbee;dog walking; family picnics; birthday parties; local celebrations; charity events - both National and Local; Hat Fair; Primary School events; informal games of football organised by children for children; learning to ride bikes; roller skating ; skateboarding and just plain sitting and enjoying for a new Swimming Pool, Gym and Multi Use hall.
If this wasn't the same City Council that built The Brooks I would say that this was some kind of bad joke.
Do our so called City Leaders not understand what makes a community? Are they so out of touch with humanity that they do not value trees and rivers not to mention the kingfishers, ducks and many other bits and bobs of wildlife that have enriched so many peoples lives?
PLEASE think again otherwise I for one will be standing in front of a bull dozer !!
As a local girl, I strongly disagree with the council's plans on this matter. Being an 11year old, this decision will affect me more than the adults making this decision. I say, why should the city council build a £25,000,000 leisure centre on some beautiful, green pastures when the current one is well-located and could easily be repaired. My dad and I are keen cricketers and love walking over to use the nets and the pitch for practise. My sister is interested in the Park Run which runs every Saturday around the recreation grounds and my mum and my other sister like walking the dog on these lovely fields everyday. If the plan goes ahead (which it most definitely should NOT), all of this would be gone, enjoyment and all. When I first heard about this, my words were 'They can't do that, It's a field', so I say, Let's rebel, do something and SAVETHEREC.
Shocked the council are even considering reducing green space in the city.
I'm against these proposals for the following reasons. * Proposal doesn't offer significantly better facilities than what's already there (no 50m pool etc) * Proposal will have disproportionate environmental impact (e.g. extra traffic coming into Hyde, all of which will need to go around the one way system on the way in or out; loss of green space etc) * Proposal will be a disaster for the local community (extra traffic past St. Bede's school during pick up/drop off times, loss of local recreation ground etc) * Current economic climate precludes spending 25 million on a non-essential new development * If a new development *is* required it could be built on the current site which would avoid the loss of green space Winchester is a unique city and a wonderful place to live and work. If the council continues to pursue this short sighted planning strategy they will end up destroying everything that makes Winchester special and once it's gone it will be gone forever. Who has the power to prevent this ill advised development? Please communicate with your local councillors and make sure they are aware how unpopular this proposal is.
I live in Hyde and use the leisure centre with my two young daughters. We also use and love the Park. It seems to us that the leisure centre is big enough to serve the local community and if anything is underused currently. To destroy the heart of the Park would be completely inappropriate for this community and would leave a huge development surrounded by a couple of fields once it had been completed. The beautiful Riverpark Would be no more. The turning of this green heart into an urban sprawl of mega centre and yet more tarmac causing thousands more cars to zoom up and down Hyde Abbey Road and Gordon Road would be a disaster for local residents who already tolerate the excessive traffic the leisure centre generates. The pollution and additional traffic is surely generally not in the interests of central Winchester residents. If the Winchester region seeks a mega leisure centre, put it at Bar End where everyone knows it should go with its existing sporting facilities and easy access from the M3. Those politicians pushing this agenda shoud beware of the impact that support for such a misguided project will have on their credibility. Why didn't the Council spend £100000 on the revamp of the existing centre rather than wasting it on reports about the feasibility of a scheme no one locally wants?
'But daddy, you can't build on fields. They are for growing things. And where will I run around?' My daughter, who is THREE, instantly grasped everything that is wrong with this crass, shoddy, short-sighted and utterly pernicious proposal. This is the most precious, beloved green field in all Winchester, a place of joy, solace and recreation for an entire community: children, dog-owners, runners, cricketers, elderly people, tree-lovers – anyone who wants to breathe. And 'our' council wants to destroy it, FOREVER, in order to have a slightly larger leisure centre and more car parking spaces. This is part of a much bigger issue. River Park has been eaten and eaten away at over the years. As green, open space, it belongs to the city, to us, in a way that should be inalienable – as the cathedral is. We do not need more leisure facilities, we merely need better ones. (And the absolute last thing Winchester needs is yet more car traffic down North Walls. Spend the money on an dedicated electric bus from the empty park and rides, if you must spend the money!) Any councillor who supports this nasty scheme should be hounded out of office. And for one I would love to stand against any of them on a single-issue ticket. James McConnachie Here's how Gerard Manley Hopkins put it: O if we but knew what we do When we delve or hew— Hack and rack the growing green! Since country is so tender To touch, her being só slender, That, like this sleek and seeing ball But a prick will make no eye at all, Where we, even where we mean To mend her we end her, When we hew or delve: After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
Winchester City Council........get real, its not that necessary and £25 million is a heck of a lot of OUR money to spend in uncertain times. Also, this space was given to the citizens of Winchester as a GREEN SPACE, not as a further urban development, you will be building houses on the Rugby pitch at this rate!
Its very short-sighted, un-thought-through and completely wrong to build on central winchester's exisiting precious green spaces... With all the recent housebuilding in the area served by the leisure centre and river park recreation ground, these amenities are already very well-used. Yes, they could do with up-grading and refurbing - and the current leisure centre could be rebuilt/redesigned to maximise the facilities (eg building up, improving layout etc) but to decrease the amount of green play space(s) available, increase parking, increase numbers of people using it, traffic to it etc etc is quite simply crazy! Yes, Winchester needs more amenities, leisure and recreation faciliities, but NOT its current ones destroyed or built over... It shouldn't be a case of eithe Barr End or River Park - we should have leisure & rec resources at both ends of Winchester - the increased revenues from new homes etc can pay for it...
I live in Hyde and use the leisure centre with my two young daughters. We also use and love the Park. It seems to us that the leisure centre is big enough to serve the local community and if anything is underused currently. To destroy the heart of the Park would be completely inappropriate for this community and would leave a huge development surrounded by a couple of fields once it had been completed. The beautiful Riverpark Would be no more. The turning of this green heart into an urban sprawl of mega centre and yet more tarmac causing thousands more cars to zoom up and down Hyde Abbey Road and Gordon Road would be a disaster for local residents who already tolerate the excessive traffic the leisure centre generates. The pollution and additional traffic is surely generally not in the interests of central Winchester residents. If the Winchester region seeks a mega leisure centre, put it at Bar End where everyone knows it should go with its existing sporting facilities and easy access from the M3. Those politicians pushing this agenda shoud beware of the impact that support for such a misguided project will have on their credibility. Why didn't the Council spend £100000 on the revamp of the existing centre rather than wasting it on reports about the feasibility of a scheme no one locally wants?
Removing yet more green space in the centre of Winchester is unacceptable. The space is used fully by the public on a continuous basis- children playing football, rugby, dog walking, frisbee, cricket, picnics. It will change the landscape of this open space forever. Placing a leisure centre in the park will cause yet more traffic congestion in the centre of Winchester and probably put even more stress in the access of the adjacent roads in the residential areas. The Council will have to borrow £ 25 million to finance this and within the present economic climate this cannot be justified when other public services are in danger of being closed. Where is tje money going to come from to pay this back? The current leisure centre is acceptable as it is .
They are proposing to destroy irrevocably one of the loveliest breathing, strolling and playing spaces in Winchester - and in any city in England. The presence of this giant sports superstore will wreck the atmosphere of the remaining fields and probably of the nature reserve too. This development could be Hyde's Twyford Down. The playing fields are not in the flood zone - but only because they can now absorb masses of water. Where will all this water go when they are concreted over? The council should be trying to reduce the number of cars that come into Winchester. The enlarged car park will suck in ever more vehicles and pollution. And what about the energy consumption and emissions of the new centre? Winchester is already a 'sports hub' - a free outdoor sports hub.
I was appalled to hear of the proposal to build on the cricket pitch.in Winchester. This is one of the green spaces that makes Winchester special, we are already loosing one at Abbott's Barton. Parks are essential green spaces for the benefit of the citizens and are NOT intended to be used as building land. Does the leisure centre need to be twice as big? Do we need such an expanse of car park as walking, cycling and park and ride should be encouraged? Can we afford it and also, more importantly, can we afford to loose green city space for ever?
I don't think that they should build a new leisure centre on the cricket pitch because i think that it is fine the way that it is and the fields should be kept the way that they are as well. The fields are used for lots of things and is one on the few green spaces we have left in Winchester.
The proposed new leisure centre to be built on River Park would use too large an area of one of the few City Centre green spaces;the cricket pitch is well used by children and adults alike.It would be too near Winnall Moors Nature Reserve. Extra car parking would lead to additional emissions in a City where emissions already exceed permitted levels. St. Bede's Primary School in particular would suffer. An out of town location is preferable.
I think that the green spaces in the city are very precious, and that they need to be protected so that they can be enjoyed by everyone for hundreds of years to come. Please leave them as they are!
Once the green space is gone its gone forever! Build a new sporting arena on waste land, by the motorway on the out skirts, for god sake not on a park.
There is still a legacy from the motorway which blights many house holds around Winchester and beyond, when it should have been put underground. Why cant councils look further than their own agenda and plan for the future. Winchester is blighted with poor building policies - Kings School for one where they sold of the sports grounds to build houses on and now because the school has grown they struggle for room to play sport!
I have read a comment on here about having to drive to a sport centre and how ridiculous that is. Well I have just returned from Melbourne Australia and without doubt I used to see 100's of people ride the 30 km from Frankston to Melbourne every morning for work - in other words what excuse has anyone in Winchester got not to ride walk or run to a sports centre surely that's what its all about...
You only have to look at London to see where any green space is an easy target for developers trying to make money who really does not care about anything other than his bank balance and has no regard for the future of people living in the area. This whole new build from WCC is exactly the same
I agree that any loss of precious green space and an increase in traffic in the city centre is a bad thing. Well-used playing fields in residential areas should be protected and not built over. This applies equally to the Garrison Field at Bar End. Don't let the council build over the fields at Bar End or the Recreation Ground. Don't increase road traffic by putting community facilities on the edge of town (how is being near the M3 going to help people in Winchester, especially young people, get to their leisure centre? And remember Junction 10 is restricted by having no slip road to exit the M3 southbound nor one to enter the M3 northbound - think it through!)
The Council's proposal to build a new leisure centre on the Rec is madness.
All development for the next ten years at least should be on "brown field" sites only.
The beauty of Winchester must be preserved.
As other people have commented the loss of the outdoor space at River Park would be a travesty for central Winchester and should be protected as a priority. Encroaching development never gets rolled back.
What does appear to be a lost opportunity is Barton Farm. Having decided to develop here it seems a pity that a new leisure centre could not have been included as a condition of the development. The access is better whilst still being relatively central and the existing site could return partially to fields and perhaps a reduced leisure facility – tennis courts bowling etc.
The Rec has played a huge role within my life to the current day - my commute to work involves strolling through these grounds and I am still in awe with it's simplicity and beauty.
My earliest memory of the recreation grounds are special moments with my family and friends. Every summer when I was a child my family and I would pack a picnic, a kite, some cricket bats and jet off through the Moors and arrive at our picnic spot by the river and willow trees. I have squished in crowds of thousands to celebrate the firework displays - swirling sparklers around with my friends and I would cycle around these grounds during the weekend come rain or shine as I began to grow up. I would splash in the river with my friends and come to feed the ducks and swans, climbing and swinging from trees. I even had my first kiss here! I studied at the Art School so naturally my Uni life was focused here, rambling around the grounds drawing trees, collecting leaves, eating lunch, birthday picnics, drunken strolls with Uni friends - putting the world to right, doing photography projects by the blossomed Horse Chestnut Trees with a friend who is no longer with us.
Cheering on my siblings in charity races and stumbling with exhaustion myself after charity 'runs'. Dates with my boyfriend - skipping around in the pouring rain and watching shapes in clouds on a fresh spring day. I work with children, children who live near by, we play here, explore the surroundings and their curiosity for the world. I see these memories ever time I walk through these grounds on my commute to work, all the memories of growing up - the Recreation grounds is more than my commute to work or a bunch of random memories, this is my home.
Winchester City Council are acting mindlessly on this project, they seem to lack innovation in their problem solving and cause more problems in their solutions, I could name several poor decisions in the last couple of years but this one sickens me the most.
"We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." (apparently a quote by Albert Einstein). If WCC 'solve' this issue by continuing with their slap-dash plans, this will result only with negative results. I think WCC should 'make do and mend' - approach this subject with positivity, if the leisure centre is surrounded by cycle friendly areas, embrace this - you have a car park with a bare bay designed for buses whom never visit - turn this into a bike shed and encourage more cycling, better health and positive solutions. It's really not that difficult. This is just one little idea, on how to improve an area for the people of Winchester to use and still keep a very special space.
Winchester City Council seems to hate Winchester. Why else propose to destroy our beautiful, magical River Park? It is an utterly unique urban green space. It is incomparable. So much more than a park. WCC couldn't have chosen a more inappropriate site for a new Leisure Centre. Who do they represent, actually?
Having looked at the display and read the consultants report- downloadable on council site- it is clear we are not being given the full picture.
Firstly the consultants say it will cost £26m + VAT + site works+ demolition to build the same facility that exists.Can we afford that?
Secondly,they admit the access to the site for demolition/rebuilding and use when built is too restricted.
Thirdly, the Council display shows Option 3 on land owned by Tesco - will they sell it? and for how much?
Fourthly, Have they discussed Option 4 with the university where they are making a pathway through their land- the Stadium site and also taking away half of their synthetic pitch to build upon? If they have not or not got agreement then they are giving us a red herring.
The park should stay untouched. Any new centre should be at Bar End with a properly thought out scheme on the Biffa Depot and university stadium site. Sporty people get a new modern facility, park users keep their park, St Bedes and local residents get a whole load of traffic removed.
Why can't Cllr Wood see the sense in this? Or is it just stubbornness on his part
I was delighted with the quality of the open meeting at the rugby club on Monday 25 November 2013. The presentations, making clear the objections to all four of the city council's options for developing the River Park Leisure Centre were excellent. The unanimous vote against all four options as presently set out said it all.
My wife and I then visited the Guildhall on 26 November to examine the council's proposals in more detail. The quality of the display was shockingly low. So today I added my comments to the city council's consultation site. I said the following:
"I visited the River Park Leisure Centre exhibition at the Guildhall on 26 November 2013 and examined the boards explaining the council’s options for the site. I also spoke to two of the council officers in attendance as well as to one of the two councillors present.
I will comment briefly on the four options as follows:
Option 1, Refurbishment: The details of the deterioration of the leisure centre are mentioned broadly but not in any building work or engineering detail that would allow a rational decision in favour or against this option. This is the only option that is costed – £7million in the short term, with more to pay in the longer term.
Insufficient detail to support Option 1.
Option 2, New build north of present Centre: This option involves disruption or part-destruction of the adjoining cricket pitch. No precise details are on offer as to the amount of the present green space that will be taken by the new centre. This option will obviously seriously damage the outlook from the adjoining and highly valuable Hyde Abbey Garden. No costings available. Through traffic facilities will be needed, almost certainly isolating St Bede School.
Insufficient detail to support Option 2.
Option 3, Rebuild in part on present footprint: Period of disruption during development vary vague (3-4 years) – could be less, could be more. Again, no detailed costings available. Nor any detailed architectural drawings. Again, St Bede School may have to be left on a traffic island with all the accompanying dangers to the children and staff. Loss of the green space north of the Nuns’ Stream. Severe damage to outlook from Hyde Abbey Garden.
Insufficient detail to support Option 3.
Option 4, Bar End development: This option offered by far the fewest details. As with Options 2 & 3, there were no detailed costings or architectural drawings. Traffic planning constraints were hardly mentioned and, where they were mentioned, were unconvincing. The placards mentioned that there would be a loss of green space, but this disadvantage applies more destructively to Options 2 and 3 at River Park.
Insufficient detail to support Option 4.
To sum up, the exhibition offered some explanation of what the city council has in mind, but cannot be said to have offered sufficient detail, especially on costings, architectural plans, traffic management and the potential harm to Hyde Abbey Garden. Therefore I cannot support any of the four options and I call on the council to withdraw the consultation until it is better prepared to offer rational, detailed suggestions."
i think that its a terrible idea idea to build a new leisure centre on the recreation ground where would we have bonfire night. I've even made save the rec t-shirts for me and my friends
Miranda Owen Wintersgill
I oppose all 4 options - they have not been thought thro and do not reflect what the the people of winchester want .
There needs to be proper consultation as once this space is lost it will never come back
I am against all 4 options
My second preference in all this is to have a 50M pool, which may cost £4M extra, and a sports led cross winchester integrated approach would make a council see sense.
It is time we look at the heritage for the kids. Digging up valuable (in terms of joy to people and promotion of activity) is the wrong option. The people of Hyde have a right to retain their doorstep. My first preference is to find that right place, and it is not the cricket pitch.
There are many people with all the skills to look at Winchester and make it great again. It is time to use them, as the wrong decisions are irreversible. Lets integrate all the groups that care together
Open, green space and playing fields should be a key priority for Winchester. They promote sport and fitness, physical and mental health, community cohesion and wildlife. We want a fine leisure centre, but not at the expense of something that benefits the entire city. Parks are our legacy for future generations. We cannot squander them for the sake of short-term political advantage or pressures.
The leisure centre could be moved to Bar End leaving the recreation ground or Park as it used to be for all to enjoy.
I wonder how many of the councillors use the leisure centre or the recreation ground. Doing both I find the existing provision well balanced for the gym bunnies and the outdoor recreationists. In addition for those living in the city centre with no garden the open green space to stand and stare is at least as valuable in terms of health and fitness as another rank of static exercise bikes. Creative use of the existing footprint of the leisure centre would provide for a new leisure centre in the heart of the town without destroying the tennis courts, all weather pitch and the cricket pitch and the general outdoor recreation facility which caters for Frisbee players, joggers and . Outdoor recreation is free, healthy and builds community. It is crazy to remove the opportunity for kids to throw down some jumpers for goalposts and have an impromptu game of football or to plant stumps and play cricket with dad. Moving the leisure centre to Bar End is not helpful making it more difficult for some people to access when we want to encourage use and reduce traffic. The true Olympic legacy is to create opportunities for people to run, jump and throw for free not for revenue.
It does seem ridiculous to destroy green open spaces where people exercise and enjoy relaxing to create a larger building where you have to pay to do the same.
We have just returned from the excellent annual fireworks which my family have been going to every year. The loss of this space is unimaginable and the council need to seriously reconsider their plans.
I will be taking my children there to enjoy the open space throughout the year and returning each year for the fireworks. Please do not let this lovely space be destroyed for yet another unnecessary building.
Since moving to Hyde last year and having twins I have walked in the recreation ground every single day. Not only has this given me a break and my twins fresh air every day but it has allowed me to witness the extent to which this area is used by the entire community. Organised sports, children playing, cyclists, dog walkers, walkers.... The list goes on.
Please leave this green space as it is - it's an essential space for the city and it's residents. Being able to go there has made a real difference to my life this year and I'm sure will to my twins lives in the years to come.
River Park open space should be left alone as it is free and accessible to everyone, apart from being a beautiful natural space. The facilities in the sports centre can be upgraded, as indeed some of them were a few years ago I believe. To develop it into such a large centre, if the take up is intended to be so much more than at present, makes no sense- how will the tiny roads to its entrance cope with increased traffic, not forgetting the added burden to roads and pollution created in the rest of the city centre? Bus routes should be re-designed to enter the site, the park and ride given a detour to the sports centre as well as better and more widespread promotion - how many signs do you see from the M3 and A34 as you approach Winchester compared with the ones from all directions as you approach Oxford? If a larger sports centre was built at Bar End, P&R should have a dedicated bus stop outside or in the ground and short journeys within the city centre on the P&R should also be better advertised to increase accessibility ( and reduce traffic through the city ).
If more people use the open space at River Park than the indoor facilities the current site needs to be improved with outdoor gyms for adults. I have used some facilities in other counties- they're always available, free and for adults (not restricted to under 12s) and would probably do a lot more for adult health than more exclusive fee-paying indoor facilities. They are also great fun and make exercise a game, not a chore.
River Park should be left alone and more creative ways found to improve Winchester's sports facilities. If we need Olympic-size pools etc, use the bigger site at Bar End nearer the motorway, not the green inner-city spaces.
The loss of this green site would be a terrible shame. Not only is it a valued and loved part of the city of Winchester, it is an important meeting place for families as well as those who play sport on the fields.
In the summer, there are dozens of families, like mine, who meet there for picnics and to play ball games with their small children. Both my children who are now adults, learned to ride their bicycles there and my grandson plays football there.
The tennis courts are well used - I played tennis there with my daughter for several years and my grandson hopes to learn to play there when he is a little older.
Aside from the obvious loss to thousands who use that area for sporting activities, it is an important part of Winchester for families.
Leave this very important part of Winchester alone!
Reducing this green space in the manner suggested (but not yet accepted) would be a disgrace. The citizens of Winchester in the past, now and in the future deserve a better Leisure Centre but where it is located, its design and its cost must be specified in advance. The City Council needs to involve the public more fully in developing appropriate, more transparent answers to the issues raised.
It is a ridiculous idea extending the current leisure centre, when the infrastructure is already stretched and when there is an alternative available! Building at Bar End would mean keeping Riverside (which is important for what it currently provides) and yet also allowing even more amenities in a better location. I will happily do all I can to help this campaign.
The current recreation centre can be refurbished using existing land around it including the bowling club. The pool could be re sited where the bowls are. The current swimming pool could become the bowls and much more like 10 pin bowling for families. The car park to the side of the rec near the tennis courts can be built on extending the facility.
The flat roofed areas can be pitched (and incorporated with others) with big gable ends of glass overlooking the park for tables tennis, air hockey, disco area – corporate entertainment etc. Etc. This will take the pressure off other areas. Doing this gives chance to insulate properly and incorporate solar panels to fuel the centre. This will help with the green issues.
Air source or ground source heat pumps can be installed and the solar will run this system meaning the costs of electric and heat for the centre will be negligible.
Insulation levels can be beefed up easily. Triple glazing from Europe with UValue of 0.7 (better than what we achieve in UV here) can be installed 40 – 50% cheaper than UK.
Much of the above work will have little impact on the daily facilities of the use of the centre. New roofs and floors can be built from outside, the pool can be built independently and once commissioned, the old one can come down and be rebuilt as a shell for bowls, etc.
After that the centre is refurbished zone by zone with minimal disruption.
I am appalled with the notion that this beautiful space should be taken up by a new sports center with the old site being turned into further parking. Surely those going to the sports center should be encouraged to walk or cycle not use cars. Why not develop the new sports center as part of the stalled Silver Hill development in eh center of the City. We don't need too many more shops in the center of town, but a sports center in the center would be accessible to everyone in the City, be central and accessible and could be used by those already out in town shopping. It could include the ice skating ring clamored for by some residents. Young people don't have cars anyhow to get to sports centers and they are among an important group we should encourage to use sports facilities; again a central site would be ideal for them. Mapping what young people have on offer shows that they really need more places to go that are accessible.
Please don't ruin this beautiful green space, cutting the area by 25% or more would make it lose its integrity and charm. How can anyone possibly do this.
A growing city needs more (not less) green space for its residents. Perhaps better to refurbish existing leisure centre and have another new, smaller venue elsewhere which can be expanded when funds become available.
In June, Conservative Leader of Winchester Council, Keith Wood, successfully “implored” planners in his own constituency of Sparsholt to reject a proposal to build housing on a paddock in the centre of the village: “If we [let this go ahead] it sets a precedent for the rest of the district. There is no identifiable need for these houses” [Hampshire Chronicle, 13 June].
It's good to see that Keith Wood appreciates the importance of open space in the middle of the delightful village where he resides - even when it is only frequented by horses. Increased traffic through the village was an issue that incensed the locals.
It all sounds very familiar. Who’s the nimby now?
Dear Councillors Hiscock, Maynard and Nelmes,
I am dismayed that Winchester City Council, elected to represent and manage civic affairs of the city, should be so insensitive to the wishes of the electorate to preserve the near-unique qualities of Winchester as a place to live.
Proposals to further damage the long-preserved 'rivers of green', the lungs of Winchester, which reach so significantly almost to the heart of the city, by construction on almost 25% of the public open space at River Park.
Public parkland and open recreational space, so invaluable in today's stressed societies, needs to be established and preserved with vigour, not wantonly diminished or destroyed simply for the seeming avarice of the institution which governs local monetary policy. What has happened to true, value judgement?
The proposed development makes a mockery of the name 'River Park' in that it proposes building on some 25% of the public green space for recreation.
The impact of yet more impermiable concrete for buildings and car park will be damaging to the fragile nature of the Itchen River floodplain, upstream of the city.
The prospect of drawing yet more vehicular traffic into this zone can only exacerbate the already over-congested traffic along North Walls, and its knock-on effect right back to Andover Road and around the whole of the current one-way system. Don't we need some 'joined-up' thinking?
The impact of the proposed new structures on non-motorised users would be significant, to the point of being dangerous. Movement along and between the walking routes, cycling routes and play areas would come under threat, as would the comparative freedom of movement of students of the Art College across Park Avenue. Please consider a properly conducted NMU audit!
Whilst sports centres may be 'in vogue', access to true outdoor recreation is healthier and more widely attainable for the less well-off and families with children. Just visit the park, in almost any weather, and witness the simple pleasure of those enjoying the inexpensive freedom and quality of that environment. If anything is needed at all, it is possibly the opening of the current River Park cafeteria facilities to something like a terrace overlooking the green open space, with easier access from the ground floor, directly from the fields.
The lack of early and adequate prior publicity and consultation seems to have left the council blatantly unaware of public opinion in this matter.
I trust that you will vigorously defend the preservation of River Park, and challenge the current proposals in debate and voting within the City Council. How could I, in all concience, give my vote in any future election to one who does not do so?
What I value about where I live is the green space enjoyed daily by myself and my children.
The school and its compromised space is more of a priority than an Olympic sized swimming pool. New houses have been built opposite the school and the school has already accommodated a bulge year. If any more space needs to be taken the school should have it.
If the school had the current public playground area which it borders incorporated into it, a bigger, better playground could be built on the site of the leisure centre and a larger leisure centre could be built less centrally.
Our green space which we love would not need to be touched.
Current plan seems to me to half-baked and rightly has raised huge opposition on many fronts. The option to utilise Bar End on almost every front seems to a preferable one. The argument of distance I think is perhaps the strongest against it but could be mitigated with an extension of use of the nearby Park & Ride scheme.
The position of Tesco is obviously key here and requires clarification. I yesterday approached Tesco's for official comment on this proposal.
As a user of the leisure centre, tennis courts and, occasionally, the cricket pitch, I greatly value the facilities. I can understand that the age of the building makes it expensive to maintain; and also the desire to avoid closure while improvement works go ahead.
Building on the existing lovely, valuable open area would be a terrible thing to do; and why increase the number of parking spaces? It is a city centre site, and there are good bus services; and in this location, as opposed to one at Bar End, many can walk. I had hoped that the city council were working to reduce city traffic, not increase it.
I'm quite sure that, if asked, the council's consultant can come up with a scheme that upgrades half the building at a time, and uses the car park behind and if necessary the indoor bowling area. It is common now for buildings in cities to be completely revamped within their own footprint. It might be complicated, but that's what engineers are for! Doing this might be more expensive per square metre than new build, so why not have a smaller building than planned now? There doesn't appear to be a need to end up with anything significantly larger than the existing.
So, don't build on the playing fields and think creatively about using the pretty large area available, without doing so.
When will he council realize that their complete disregard for the value of green space in Winchester is not shared by Winchester residents!
To loose a well loved outdoor green recreation space, which is continually used for free sports by young and old alike, for the sake of more indoor sports facilities which in most part service a relatively small proportion of the community, is depressingly ill conceived, particularly when a significant part of the proposed new foot print will be dedicated to parking - any development plans need to be integrated with a city wide transport policy which should be designed to discourage cars not encourage them! I personally do not want the sports centre to move to Bar End - I think this will simply increase traffic through town. Instead we need to maintain city centre facilities where ever possible but improve public transport access, cycle routes and so on - refund leisure centre users their bus fares, charge non-users higher prices for parking. Spend £10 million on improving the facilitites properly, on the current site, and perhaps consider providing more local all weather football pitches, tennis courts etc on multiple sites through the town. Use some imagination and think laterally.
The council's clear preference for the River Park site is extraordinarily insensitive — not just to the objections of local residents to increased traffic, air pollution and noise but especially to the overwhelming need to conserve an area of great natural beauty. It cannot make sense to pave over green fields simply to allow more parking. Nor can it make sense to limit the ability of Winchester residents to stroll by the river, watch cricket and simply enjoy the open air in a truly beautiful environment. By contrast, Bar End would seem to be an obvious site.
I live in on the edge of the city, but still value the River Park recreation ground very highly. I regularly take the opportunity to walk through this airy, tree-lined open space with its intersecting streams, in the centre of our crowded city with its polluted atmosphere streets. "Lungs" like this are an essential part of any town. I am appalled that the council have even considered encroaching on this green space. I recommend consideration of suggestions in other commentssuch as rebuilding the Leisure Centre in stages or building at Bar End
It is crucial, particularly as Barton Farm goes on stream, that there remains a reasonably sized Public Open Space in the heart of Winchester.
The rec is heavily used at weekends by sports clubs of all sorts, and after school week days for - free to all - casual sport and games - primary school pupils and their parents picnic here in the summer or practice small scale football throughout the year, and teenagers cycle over and play cricket/frisby etc.... In the evenings there are organised keep fit sessions for adults, combining fresh air and exercise.
The future leisure centre will offer indoor sports for those who can pay - and have driven ( not cycled ), and parked. This is an offer to a smaller number of Winchester residents, and will exclude casual users and the more cash strapped.
The rec also forms part of a string of ( mostly humble in size ) green open spaces allowing youngsters and adults alike to cycle or walk safely from Abbotts Barton to the bottom of the high street, linking the children's play park, the stream, the rec., the nature reserve and the small green space to the side of the City Mill - a veritable green lung which all residents are privileged to access for free. A casual look on any bright day will show the extent to which all these spaces are used, bringing life to the town and greatly adding to its appeal as a place to live and a successful tourist destination.
I presume it does not need to be stated that the green space lost should this go ahead will never be regained. Never.
I believe that to have outdoor spaces to exercise are just as important as an indoor recreation area.
Why to we all have to drive to one centre? Would it not be better to have smaller centres so that people don''t have to use their cars everytime they want to exercie.
The centres could have core activities and then specialise in another. e.g. one place has a swiming pool and another place a gym with very specialist equipment.
Then every centre could have a large sports hall. It would mean less traffic clogging up the town centre.
In the 1970s there was a YMCA at Weeke that used to be well used.
I have just met a group of organised young girls in the Park who sought my views on this badly devised proposal. I think the best argument is made just by looking around you on any day at this wonderful and precious space-the green lungs of the city. We do not need to extend the leisure centre : just glance around you at the people of all ages and their dogs enjoying the recreational freedom of open space. Once gone, never to be retrieved for future generations who sadly will not know what they are missing. The current indoor space is generous- can't these facilities be renovated in situ?
I think the proposals are short sighted and not thought through.
I am deeply concerned about the proposal for a new leisure Centre which appears to have been devised without any consultation with the local population or any thought for the wider implications of this plan.
The loss of green space in the heart of a city is the first concern. Others have eloquently discussed this, but I would also like to add that our city is already a polluted one with far too many cars in a confined area, so to build over yet another green 'breathing' space is madness.
The expense of such a scheme at a time when we are ever told to tighten our belts, tolerate job losses, rising inflation and economic hardship; at a time when the Council has engineered huge lay-offs, seems profligate.
I wonder who is really to benefit from this huge and extravagant project? I guess it must be the usual suspects? Big business interests, money lenders, the banks? Why do we want to get the Council into 20 million of debt at this time?
How will it benefit most people in the area? The cost of exercise in the existing leisure Centre is already prohibitive for so many - even the reasonably affluent cannot afford to take their families swimming regularly, or book facilities as much as they would like in order to maintain optimal health. Where is the incentive to reduce obesity and encourage our population to get fit and healthy when the cost of regular sessions at Riverpark are already out of most of our reaches?
Why do we need more facilities when we already have a perfectly adequate swimming pool, a reasonable gym and indoor courts? Why not build some free outdoor courts, to be administered by Osman Tennis perhaps for a retainer? Why not reduce and subsidise the cost of exercise for our citizens rather than waste millions on a big shiny new building. And why on earth would they want to situate on a flood plain anyway? Have we not seen the damage to St Bedes from flooding??
And why would we want to encourage hundreds more cars to go round an already congested one way system and filter up Gordons Road which is hardly fit for purpose as it is?
And what sort of eye sore would be another over ground car park of the scale the council is proposing?. Surely the future lies in hiding cars out of sight, underground, and releasing space for leisure/arts/culture/activities which nourish us, rather than produce more income for big business, its cronies and friends?
To whom it concerns,
I do not agree with the councils proposal to rebuild our local leisure centre on the adjacent cricket field, and have great concerns for the attitude and liberties our local council take with us the community and tax-payer:
- Why does the council think it is appropriate to spend 100k of our money on surveys for their plight without airing their agenda first to the community? Is this not potentially a waste of our money that so many more humane/ecological resources could benefit from?
Exactly who is leading this and is it all about a deal under the desk; a golden hand shake; or career status ? How many of the proposers of this build live in central Winchester? None in Hyde, I bet.
-How is the traffic around our limited one-way road system supposed to cope? I live on North Walls and a 1m x 1m dig by Southern Gas caused gridlock in the last couple of days. St. Peters car park were queueing to get out on to Gordons Road. What happens to the traffic if the Silverhill development occurs too? How does the council expect our road system to cope with a larger car parking facility? How is Gordons Road supposed to deal with this when there is already a primary school with no safe crossing?
What is the point of the councils "Park and Ride" if we are to have a large inner city car park?
-Why can't Bar End be a compulsory purchase from Tesco by the council? My grand father lost his market gardening business to Laing/Bovis in Hedge End?.What has changed? Does the concept of two sites just not suit the council because building an architectural sporting megalomania is far more attractive? Whatever the price for us the tax-payer and the community.
-If members of the council had purchased a house at Monks or Nuns Road, or Hyde, at a premium, would they be content with a drop in their house value; light/noise pollution and a lack of natural light from a rebuild?
-My Children attend St. Bede in Gordon Road. With the population increase the school has been obliged to increase its pupil capacity. This fields are required for sports due to lack of physical space within the school. Sports day and PE takes place on these fields. In addition to this, children and mothers frequently go to this space for air and freedom after school hours. Our children play football and rugby here, as well as other sporting and charity events.
-I walk my dogs in this park every day. (Is this land green-belt
?) What little land will be left will be not acceptable for the elderly to walk their pets. I drive, but what of the people in the centre of town that don't? I see people meditate and practice martial arts here. It offers inner city citizens serenity and calm away from city life.
-In addition to these points, I would like to know why the council and DCLeisure have higher prices than of that of Fleming Park at Eastleigh and Alton? Is this acceptably? Is this where the 100K came from? Why do businesses inflate their prices because Winchester is seen as "middle-class"? Who is "middle-class" these days in our economic climate.
The RPLC is essentially a community sports centre, built in the community, for the community and used by the community.
The additional open space at River Park is just as important a facility as any built one. Again it was developed in the community, for the community and is well used by the community, for a whole variety of activities from simply providing a space to sit in, getting from A to B, walking the dog, impromptu play to organised team sports and community events. The space is completely suited for a multitude of purposes in its size and layout.
However if this size and layout was reduced and altered by developing on the cricket pitch site, the space would radically change and not for the better.
The community is the fundamental issue that was not discussed at the presentation and the community have not been asked about the facility they currently have, let alone if they actually want a new one. But somehow the council have taken the view of jumping straight to a proposed new development on a new site.
The presentation on Thursday 26th September was totally biased towards promoting a new leisure centre on a new site at River Park. Two sites were presented, with the one at Bar End not actually a viable option as Tesco own it and don't want to sell. This therefore steered the argument towards River Park and the time and money spent commissioning this report has angered my opinion of the councils inept ability in dealing with this complex topic.
Understandably such a project will inevitably involve compromise and I am not against a scheme to improve the city's built leisure facilities, but I will only support a scheme which has established a proper brief, by involving the community to provide a facility which they actually require and is suitable for people's needs, rather being told what they think they need and promoting a scheme that is more about the kudos of a few selected council members.
Firstly there needs to be a comprehensive feasibility study done on the existing building and site before anything else happens. This will establish what it currently provides and then look at what can be provided by either re-modelling, extending or developing part or all of the site.
This should then be presented to the community, with full and open consultation to understand what the community wants and actually needs.
There may be other solutions that are borne out of this process, such as a satisfaction with the existing facility and to only improve what's on the existing site, but there may also be a compelling reason to provide a separate new facility elsewhere, which, for example, could provide a few specialist facilities to Winchester and encourage users from outside the city.
This could take the form of a 50 metre swimming pool, (which seemed to be one of the councils main driving points that they were pushing in the presentation). This could be linked with other activities, say gymnastics, or indoor athletics, but any such requirement would need to be thoroughly tested.
If the feasibility study supports a brief for a new and larger facility which cannot be accommodated on the existing site, then the discussion on a suitable site should be had. The presentation didn't even consider looking at a site within the Barton Farm development. With careful design this could be sited to maintain it within walking distance of the Fulflood, Hyde and Weeke communities as well as the proposed newly developed community.
Not only are these large communities in themselves, they are also the closest to Barton Farm and the existing site at River Park. Any proposal in these areas will therefore maintain a sense of community interaction as it will allow people to walk and cycle, therefore reducing the amount of perceived parking. A development further outside the city, such as Bar End will inevitably compel people to drive as opposed to using alternative options.
It was disappointing that Steve Tilbury and Keith Wood are the people representing the council and ultimately us. They do not instil confidence that they understand the concerns and issues and can deliver a successful project. They however, are the current incumbents and with close work from the community they should be able to provide a facility for Winchester. But the city clearly needs to work hard with them to get the best solution for the community.
I am appalled by this proposal. We walk here often and love the green space so necessary in this part of the city. Green space must not be eaten away by developers when there is land in more appropriate parts of the city.
Moreover, Winchester is clogged with far too much heavy traffic causing unacceptably high levels of pollution. This proposal will make things far worse with provision for so many more car parking spaces. We need fewer cars going through Hyde and it's nearby streets, not more...
I live on heavily residential Hyde Street and it's already become a rat run. The council has not even thought about the effect this has on our health.
An outcome of the Council’s proposal to build a new leisure centre will be the loss of one of Winchester’s beautiful green-spaces. I agree whole-heartedly with all the comments posted here about how this green-space is currently well-used by a full cross-section of the community for a range of activities, from dog-walking through to ParkRunning. It seems ludicrous to concrete over a facility that enables people to stay fit, active and healthy for free, in order to provide a facility where people will be charged for the same benefits.
Once the new leisure centre has been built on our much-loved green-space, the Council’s proposed scheme is to demolish the current leisure centre and use the space to provide car-parking facilities instead (Para 3.2 of the Council’s proposal). The development options considered by the Continuum feasibility-study include provision of a 350-space car park, in contrast to the current 167-space car park (p.77 of the Continuum report). This doesn’t seem to be a sensible way forward to me for a number of reasons. The road-safety consequences of increased traffic into the leisure centre site have already been highlighted in other comments. I would add that, since 2003, the whole of Winchester Town Centre (which includes North Walls) has been designated as an Air Quality Management Area because concentrations of both nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter have exceeded national objectives. As the main source of both these pollutants is motor vehicle exhausts, I fail to see how encouraging increased numbers of car journeys to the leisure centre is consistent with solving the problem of Winchester’s poor air quality.
Also, providing extra car-parking doesn’t seem to fit with our national Government’s current policy for achieving sustainable local transport, as laid-out in their 2011 White Paper ‘Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon – Making Sustainable Local Transport Happen’. In this White Paper, the Department for Transport clearly state their ambition to encourage people to switch from using their cars, and to choose alternatives that contribute to reducing both road-congestion and transport’s carbon emissions, such as public transport, walking or cycling. Surely the Council’s scheme for any new leisure centre should be aligned with this policy?
I hope our local Councillors, elected by us the community, take-note of the strength of feeling surrounding this issue, and act accordingly to find a more sensible solution to provision of Winchester’s leisure facilities.
I agree wholeheartedly that a new, bigger leisure centre is needed for Winchester. The current location of the centre is convenient for me and I use it regularly. I also use the playing fields. The current leisure centre has been neglected for too long.
Winchester is unusual among many towns in that it has this beautiful oasis of green space in the town, and I don't think the importance of the playing fields themselves is fully appreciated by the Council or the consultant's writing the report.
My elderley mother lives in the town centre and uses the fields there for her to take a walk in cleaner air; and enjoys watching families, dogs and children playing, as well as the various sports which are played there.
The report seems to concentrate on the provision of Sports facilities for the district, along with income generation. Just as much importance should be placed on the maintenance of our green spaces for the free enjoyment of residents. When looking at the amount of exercise which is done, and obesity figures; we shouldn't forget that much of this exercise is not done in formal leisure facilities. This is evidenced by the number of people who can be seen running or walking on the fields, or playing informal football, rounders, frizbee, etc games.
I cannot see the justification for building on any more of the few green spaces in Winchester city. Air pollution in Winchester dreadful, and this would make it even worse. The cricket fields at risk are used extensively by all members of the community; and could almost be considered a village green. I understand the need to concentrate on revenue streams and limiting the costs of providing the new centre, however, Winchester already has very little green space, and with those available being ussed for housing (eg: those at Abbots Barton and Barton Farm). The cricket fields are likely to be used even more extensively in the future.
Parking at the leisure centre is inadequate, therefore I understand the need for more, however, this will not help with the traffic problems in the town, especially during the evening rush-hour when many people prefer to use leisure facilities. I know of several people who use leisure centres like Fleming Park in preference to River Park because of ease of access and parking.
The report indicates that a significant proportion of current users of the centre come from nearby. Instead of using this to justify locating the new centre in the centre of town, an out of town centre may get more customers from outlying villages. In addition it is more likely to provide a centre for the entire Winchester district, not one aimed primarily at city residents. A decent bus service from the centre can cater to those customers who live in the city.
The justifications in the report for not using the other location which has been suggested seem rather weak, and I get the sense that the Council has already decided where to put the leisure centre and will find whatever barrier they can find to prevent other locations being considered.
I agree with the majority of comments aired here so won't repeat, other than to say that it is very heartening to see folk engaged to resist this poorly thought through proposal by the Council.
Whilst it is, an appallling proposal, which if successful, would represent a criminal loss of city centre green space for future generations (Councillors, pls note; is this really the legacy you want to leave Winchester when your "new" lesure centre is in need of a refurb in time to come?); of particular concren is the potential increase in traffic past St Bedes CoE primary school. It is a miracle that there have not been accidents (that I am aware of) with the current levels of (mostly) leisure centre traffic. The very real danger that this presents to the children of St Bedes in an already congested road area with poor visibility, particualry, at the North school gates should not be under estimated....
Lets make sure there is a good turn out at the Town Hall on Thurs evening so the Council are left in doubt as to the level of objections to this madness....
I am appalled at this proposal. As a user of the Leisure Centre (in particular, the pool) I question the need for a larger pool and additional parking. I agree that the changing rooms, and some of the other facilities, need updating and improving, but surely use could be made of the unutilised space behind the Centre? Better still, why not relocate the indoor bowling alley (Silver Hill for example? I foresee another "Brooks" if this development is used for more shops) and use that space as well? The loss of the Leisure Centre for a couple of years while a new one is built on the current site is far preferable to building on a much loved (by a number of elements of the community, not just those interested in sport) green space which would be lost for ever. And where would the annual fireworks display take place?!
Sold up and moved out of London for a better life style in Hyde Winchester but this present council outfit don't stand for what people want :look at the Abbotts Barton building plans they said would be built "Wrong"!! and cost us loads of money and as for 300 car parking spaces not for leisure centre uses but town parking @£6 per day a money maker to fill the council purse for more looney projects and to turn Winchester into a outer London suburb with less green spaces.Lets hope the people of Winchester vote them OUT next election we all have the right to vote and can make changes if we use it.
No! This is an awful idea and i cant believe its even being considered. I will be writing to Keith Wood asap.
Well done for getting this site together.
I think that there may be a legal loop hole that is we can prove that the park is used for community gathering which we can that they will not be able to continue with the plans
- Very concerned about access to the site? North walls is too small a road to take the weight of the traffic that drives though there now. Cars go too fast when driving down Hyde abbey road and Gordon rd to access the current lesuire centre - how are people going to access the new lesuire centre? As if they feel they need a bigger car park then they will be expecting more cars to drive down these very small roads
- why do they need a really big car park Winchester should be promoting walking and public services - or are they going to use some of the land to build more houses - just what Winchester needs more houses that are new builds that are really expensive that really are not big enough for a family! #abottswalk!
- upset that they will be destroying beautiful park because to consider bar end would have implications as visible from M3!??
- think this might be a ploy to make the bar end option not so bad? #conspiresy theroy!
- think a new centre is needed though and will be a good addition to Winchester but they need to be responsible when continuing with the plans as once destroyed that park will be gone forever :(
I just sent the following letter to a number of local councillors. The current plans appear to be based closely on a consultants report which is available here: www.winchester.gov.uk/n/sports/leisure-centre-report/. The report is a bit long, but makes quite interesting reading. Here's my letter anyway:
I am writing in response to recommendations recently proposed to the Council for the replacement of River Park Leisure Centre, which involve concreting over a large part of the North Walls Recreation Ground in order to build a new centre of very similar size together with a much larger car park.
The proposals appear to be based primarily on the Continuum report delivered in May 2013. Despite its considerable length, most of the hard facts in this report are concentrated in Sections 2 and 3. These Sections report that:
* River Park is used predominantly by the local community, with only around 10% of members coming from outside the SO22 and SO23 postcodes.
* According to official Sport England measures, Winchester is already over-provided with swimming pools, sports halls and artificial grass pitches until at least 2030.
* Only 54% of the city’s swimming pool capacity and 40% of its sports hall capacity is currently used (both well below the national averages), and swimming pool use at River Park is only 32% of capacity.
* Member and visitor numbers to the Centre have been essentially flat over the past 5 years aside from a downward blip during the recent refurbishment of the gym.
The proposals currently being put forward for River Park are terrible for several reasons:
* They involve destroying a beautiful area of precious green space that is already heavily used for physical activity as well as being a delightful amenity to residents and city workers.
* They are an unjustified and massive expenditure compared to simply refurbishing the existing Leisure Centre.
* They claim a “significant opportunity to generate more revenue from its operation” but the Continuum report suggests only that additional revenue from such a scheme might come either from administrative sleight of hand in relation to parking charges, or from increasing entrance fees for users of the swimming pool and other facilities.
* Building a bigger car park will increase traffic congestion and pollution when these are already a major problem in our city centre.
The Continuum report states without explanation that “refurbishment or enhancements to the current RPLC have not been considered”. This is truly bizarre given the facts presented by the report which show conclusively that the existing centre is large enough to meet projected demand for the next 20 years.
I am therefore writing to urge the Council to do what your consultants failed to do, that is to give proper consideration to refurbishing the existing leisure centre before spending large amounts of money on feasibility studies for more elaborate and destructive plans that appear to be motivated by opinions with no basis in fact.
Losing a much used green field and causing more traffic on a dead end system past a school, what is the council thinking? They should split the centre in two, with one part at Bar End and renovating the old one.
I walk my dog twice a day round this area and it would be a massive shame if this was built on. There would be less space for the dogs to run around and explore, and more traffic would mean more danger in letting them off the lead. There is a massive dog walking community at winchester rec, so I know I am not the only one who would be affected in this way. The rec is used by so many people as a lovely green space to be enjoyed and I would hate to see that be lost.
I am absolutely horrified at this proposal from the council.
This open space,next to the high density housing of Hyde,
Abbotts Barton and the Andover Road is essential as a place to relax and has been enjoyed by residents for 100 years...this is the very character of winchester. It is unbelievable that Council Officers and sports clubs should seek to destroy this open space. by building a huge gymnasium..Pool Building..Floodlight
Tennis and football courts over the green which has a surrounding Arboretum,,This is yet another proposal to ruin Winchester by concreting over green space....The development will look similar to a motorway service station ,nuclear power station or Euston..Station........................Do we really want that...
This is a scarcely credible and truly shameful proposal. With other valued services cut or discontinued, why spend money on ruining one of the few, and the best, of the city's outdoor recreation areas? The park, as it currently exists, attracts a far wider range of users than any leisure centre ever could. If a new centre must be built, it should be on the footprint of the present one. Or, if the council is determined to 'big up' the project, why not build two or three small leisure centres at various sites in Winchester so that more people could reach them on foot or by bicycle, and so reduce the amount of parking needed overall?
The family are not in favour of this green space being developed,there are many people who don't want to use a gym but enjoy the surrounding area to have outside sports,cycle,family picnics and enjoy some open space.This development will impact hugely on the Hyde area and no doubt residential streets leading down to the Leisure centre, after permit hours as many people avoid driving right into Winchester in an evening.
The existing leisure centre is in a convenient location; much easier for most people to walk to then the out of town alternatives. Could it be re-developed without increasing the footprint very much? If it needs to be bigger, i would prefer to lose the cricket pitches than for the existing leisure to be replaced with one out of town, that would be my worst case scenario. Lets keep our leisure centre in town, but make it fit in with the nice, well used, surrounding fields. It doesn't need to be massive and i am sure we can all live without a 50 metres pool - that would be a waste of money and space.
I recently contacted both Kieth Wood and Andrew Palmer regarding the council proposals to build houses over the parkland and play area in Abbots Barton. Cllr. Woods response was to suggest I sell my house and move out of Winchester. Mr Palmer, though more mature in his response, pointed to the fact that the neigbourhood wood be little disadvantaged as they had the facilities of the main park close by. Now they plan to destroy this also. Who are these people he'll bent on destroying Winchester and why are they in power?
The provision of indoor sporting facilities in Winchester is woefully inadequate for a town of this size. Fit4the future.org, a group formed from numerous local sports clubs, has produced a risk assessment for River Park and Bar End. For numerous reasons they favour the Bar End option. http://www.fit4thefuture.org/public_html/Q&A_files/Sports%20centre%20location%20issues.pdf
If you would like to support this option, please go to their website and sign the petition. Politicians like to see names on a piece of paper as these are real people who vote them in or out of power!
The idea that the council should build over a playing field to put up a new sports centre is completely outrageous. The playing fields are irreplaceable and we cannot sit by and let the council believe that concreting over them is a reasonable solution to the problem of how to replace an ageing sports centre.
I've played cricket here for years and now help train my son's U7 rugby which uses the space. In addition this space is used extensively with children's games throughout the year. Green space should be sacrosanct.
Beggars belief that anyone could propose such a plan, let alone commit 100k of public money to surveys. Non-one would disagree that the Leisure Centre needs modernising but it simply has to use the existing site.
This plan appalls me on so many different levels.
I was very disappointed/concerned to hear that the cricket pitches may be the new place to put the new leisure centre.
Green spaces are precious and should be preserved for outdoor activities, for sports, for families and for the environment.
I am against the idea of building more parking spaces. I feel that creating more parking spaces will encourage people to drive more, therefoer creating more traffic, cluttering the city even more and creating more pollution.
Once again, green spaces are invaluable and make Winchester a pleasant city to live in.
I'd like to register my opposition to a new leisure centre being built on recreation ground that is already used for sport and fitness.
There is already a leisure centre with parking, and adding more parking space discourages users from walking/cycling to the gym.
It is important to keep the town green as it is one of the things that makes it a pleasant place to live. It should be a city where car use is discouraged.
I am opposed to this development. The loss of green space in Winchester seems to be the Council's only objective.
My 6yr old uses that space for Rugby training, park run, playing with friends in a safe environment away from roads and walking the dog. He asked "why are you taking away the open space where I exercise to replace it with a building that people pay to exercise in?" The building will come at huge cost, impose a huge ongoing carbon footprint using air conditioning for example to cool the gym.
This objection is not about NIMBY principles. The leisure centre could do with some investment, but the recent improvement in the gym itself makes it an attractive facility. I believe less money could be spent on improving the other facilities. We do not need more car parking space, money should be invested in further park and ride schemes as in Salisbury, cycle routes to encourage less traffic around our already pressurised town centre and a healthy population in Winchester. I believe you could achieve the same outcome of improved facilities on a far less budget this way.
I am shocked that there are plans afoot to build on our cricket field. This green landscape so close to our city centre, bordered by beautiful trees, is a much-loved area for walking, relaxing, and just feeling at peace.
No, no, no to its destruction, and no to the spending of £25 million of our money. Please just refurbish the present leisure centre where necessary, if necessary build extra facilities somewhere less destructive and leave our precious rec alone.
In a time when more people are becoming active, destroying valuable open space to make way for a car park is completely out-of-touch with the lifestyle of the very users of the proposed new leisure centre. Surely we should be encouraging and supporting those who choose to run, cycle and use public transport to get to their leisure facilities rather than build more car parks.
As a regular user of the current leisure centre I would be more than happy to put up with two years of disruption and making alternative arrangements in order to support a replacement of the current building on its existing location.
Yet another example of bonkers local authority planning - if you're going to update current facilities that's fine. As a regular user of River Park I totally support spending additional money as I have felt for sometime that it doesn't really meet requirements of city. However spend that money really modernising current centre rather than previous 'tinkering' efforts and don't move it's footprint 200 metres to the left and replace it with additional parking(!). The park is a widely used and free all year round leisure facility that local people can enjoy - whether that be walking the dog or taking part in the numerous sports activities that take place such as rugby, cricket, football, volleyball etc. It also provides a safe and peaceful environment for local people to relax in. I imagine there will also be somewhere in all this a residential development planned with an element of 'affordable' housing to put further strain on local infrastructure and facilities. I am totally against and development that encroaches on land originally meant for people of Winchester to enjoy
I object to the proposal to build on the cricket pitch in North Walls Park. It is a green space much used by families, dog walkers, school children, runners, and many others who live locally, and should not be replaced by a building in which you would have to pay to exercise. It gives the wrong message to children, suggesting that you should exercise indoors and not in the open air. I am a member of the present leisure centre and find it quite adequate for my needs.
If this development does go ahead then one of Winchesters green spaces will be destroyed.
It will also destroy an area much used by workers in the lunch break and by residents in Winchester after 4pm during weekdays and at the weekend in the summer months. I know as I have been playing tennis there for 10 years and walk the dog there.
In addition I have no knowledge of where the demand for extra sporting facilities has come from, since I cannot recall one conversation stating that Winchesters sporting facilities are deficient.
Having lived in the past in King Alfred Terrace for 5 years, it always baffled me as to why we would put such an amenity right in the centre of our city increasing traffic congestion. The land adjacent to the M3 and the athletics track is far better suited to potential rad access, parking and with minimal impact on residents.We continue to build housing next to motorways and major industrial and leisure complexes in the centres. It is all arse about face. The planning people need to adopt a new joined up strategy fit for the future and not the short term. If a new facility becomes a success, it naturally follows that you might want to expand further in the future. North walls would not facilitate this potential. The knock on effect would be the clawing back of playing fields currently used by cricket and rugby teams on a regular basis to name but a few.Rebuilding housing should the existing river park centre be demolished would also meet brown field targets. a win /win.
This new leisure centre should not go ahead. I read the proposal to the council and was appalled that, while there was talk of how a larger centre might provide opportunities for more people to visit and take part in leisure activities, there was absolutely no consideration of the reduction in the the number of people taking part in sports because of the loss of the tennis courts, cricket, rugby and football pitches alongside. The Council should not proceed any further without understanding just how many people take part in sport on those courts/pitches, as well as use it for dog-walking/picnics etc. I find it hard to believe that the incremental number of users of a bigger leisure centre would outweigh the number of people affected by the loss of the green space alongside. Looking at the list of proposed facilities in the recommendation to the council, there is little that is completely new, so I doubt that there would be that many more new people using it. Certainly not enough to warrant destroying a rare green space in the city centre, not to mention to massive disruption to residents and the adjacent nature reserve during construction.
The City Council's proposal to build a new leisure centre on a very beautiful and well used cricket ground in an important urban park, the River Park Recreation Ground (REC), is atrocious, scandalous, and driven by expediency. Its far worse than Barton Farm. Its like building a hypermarket in the middle of Hyde Park. Its seems that the proposal is driven by using the land occupied by the existing leisure centre to provide a 300 space car park. A common eyesore in and around Winchester is land covered in cars and tarmac. If really needed, a 1 or 2 car park, sensitively designed, on the leisure centre's existing car park would be far better as, simply, there would be no eyesore. I am sure that such a car park would be cost effective. It would mean that REC wasn't vandalized for us and future generations. Further, the need for more swimming capacity should be accommodated by building a second swimming pool on the other side of the City. The Council's stupidity in spending our money moving forward its leisure centre proposal is incomprehensible. The Council is completely out of touch with those it is meant to be serving. The Council's proposal should be immediately withdrawn with an undertaking that it will not be resurrected. Once this happens, alternative, and, hopefully, more imaginative proposals can be considered. All of us, irrespective of political affiliation, must do everything legitimate we can to SAVE THE REC.
I don't think there is anything wrong with our current leisure centre that a programme of general refurbishment couldn't put right. We are rapidly losing our green spaces in Winchester and with all the new developments being constructed on green spaces around the City, those areas which remain green are even more precious. I'm sure this land was given for outdoor activities; not for buildings. We definitely don't need more parking spaces which will increase traffic and City pollution above our current dangerous levels.
The plans show a complete lack of understanding about how important this beautiful green space is the the community that is the city of Winchester.
I think it's an appalling idea. This is a beautiful open space near the centre of the city that would be completely ruined by being concreted over for a leisure centre. This park already _is_ our leisure centre! It's constantly used for cricket, football, frisbee, kite flying, picnics etc. And the cricket pitch under consideration is at the heart of the green space. Having a huge building occupying it would make all the related areas feel cramped. It's a great feeling to walk across that field and sense the open sky above you. We have too few such places in Winchester. Also why does the council want to replace the existing leisure centre with a huge car park? Surely we want to be discouraging car use. Why not better cycle path connections? I don't understand why we even need a new leisure centre - the existing one seems adequate - but please reconsider this dreadful plan.
I am a regular user of that particular cricket field, as are hundreds of others of all ages. Sacrificing such a large and well used green space when there are other viable options for an expanded leisure
Centre, either at River Park or Bar End, is illogical, a waste of resources, and contrary to the council's stated environmental policies.
But more importantly it will curtail organised activities including mini and juniors rugby, cricket, ultimate frisbee, park run, all of which could not be accommodated to their current level on the single remaining pitch; and even more importantly curtail the informal games played on that pitch by thousands of people of all ages (but in particular children) year round.
We don't want or need that crucial area concreted over for our sport, games, exercise and family fun; we just want it left alone so we can get on with it. Steve Brine and WCC please take note.
We should not sacrifice this green & pleasant land used by thousands of people (for free) to accommodate a larger facility which appears to be the recommendation made by people or organizations who probably do not live in, or frequent the area.