Blow for Waterlooville as plans for leisure hub withdrawn

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PLANS for a huge leisure complex which was set to transform Waterlooville have been withdrawn.

Community leaders now fear Waterlooville and Havant may not get the leisure facilities they desperately need.

Planning permission has been granted to redevelop the old BAE Systems site, off Hambledon Road, with a mix of facilities, including a bowling alley, gym and cinema, to serve the growing community in new housing developments.

Hundreds of new homes have been built with many more to come.

But at the moment residents have to travel to Portsmouth and the surrounding towns to enjoy a night out.

Now Havant Borough Council has revealed the application for the shops, a hotel, restaurant and drive-through takeaway has been withdrawn by the owners Summerbrook, a subsidiary of Hargreaves.

David Crichton, chairman of Waterlooville Community Forum, said it was a blow.

‘There is considerable disappointment,’ he said.

‘It will have a major negative impact on Waterlooville if we lose this development.

‘According to the council they are looking at a phased, commercial development and this worries me. What do they mean by that?

‘The most important thing is the cinema. We would like some reassurance that it isn’t going to be a major rewrite of the plans, they are just doing things in a slightly different way.’

Residents were pinning their hopes on the new bowling alley after AMF Bowling in Bedhampton closed last year.

Mr Crichton added: ‘This is probably the most important project in Waterlooville.

‘It will make a big difference to have a leisure hub here. At the moment residents have to travel to Port Solent, Gunwharf or Fareham to go to the cinema.’

Planning permission was given in December 2013 after several years of talks.

There was also provision for a supermarket – which was widely expected to be Aldi.

Hargreaves, the developers, did not respond to calls from The News.

But, in a statement the council said the developer indicated that it intends to submit another application for a more ‘phased approach to the delivery of the site than the previous scheme had allowed for.’