Hundreds sign petition backing leisure complex for Waterlooville

Plans for the Waterlooville BAE park revamp
Plans for the Waterlooville BAE park revamp

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HUNDREDS of people have signed a petition backing plans for a ‘vital’ leisure complex in Waterlooville to go ahead amid uncertainty over its future.

In just two days, the online petition, started by Josh Rigelsford, received more than 770 supporters.

It would be a lifeline for the town, it’s vital that it goes ahead

Petition organiser Josh Rigelsford

‘I had no idea that it would be that big, I thought there would be about 50-odd supporters,’ said the 19-year-old.

‘I was at work talking to my colleagues and we came up with the idea and I asked them to sign it.

‘It is showing that people are behind the council and people want it built.’

Plans to redevelop the old BAE Systems site, off Hambledon Road, with facilities including a bowling alley, gym and cinema, were withdrawn by developer Summerbrook Ltd, a subsidiary of Hargreaves, earlier this year.

As more and more homes are built in the town, there is a rapidly increasing need for new leisure facilities, adding to concerns over the redevelopment.

‘The only place I can go out is Portsmouth which costs £20 in a taxi and there is nothing else to do here,’ added Josh.

‘It would be a lifeline for the town, it’s vital that it goes ahead.’

Havant Borough Council issued a statement last month saying that Summerbrook ‘intends to submit another application for a more phased approach’.

David Guest, cabinet lead for planning and the built environment at the council, insists that the project has not been cancelled, and spoke to Josh about the application being withdrawn.

‘I said to him that it is not scrapped but that the original plan could not go ahead at this time,’ he said.

Cllr Guest was unable to say when the plan would be resubmitted, adding: ‘The developer is going about it at their own pace and these things take time.’

Josh, who is studying architecture at the University of Portsmouth, says that he wants to support the council to bring developers to the area but that there should be more information available.

‘If there was a clear set plan it would be nice to have the public involved as obviously there is huge support for this development,’ he said. ‘It would be a shame for it to not go ahead.’

Hargreaves refused to comment when approached.

Josh’s petition can be found at change.org/p/havant-borough-council-support-for-a-leisure-complex-in-waterlooville