£3m sports hall plan gets green light from council

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Jean Everitt from Friends of the Earth, Cllr Trevor Cartwright, Cllr Rob Humby, Cllr Graham Burgess, Jean MacGrory from Hampshire County Council with Callum Manson, Thomas Houghton and Skye Maccoll from Rowner Junior School. Picture: David George

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PLANS for a long-awaited new £3m sports hall have taken a major step closer to completion after being approved at a council meeting.

Gosport Borough Council’s regulatory committee unanimously approved the proposals for the new facility, which will also be major boost for the community, at Bay House School.

The eight Conservative and two Labour councillors all approved the scheme. No Lib Dem representatives attended the meeting.

And with the money now in place from the Education Funding Agency, work is expected to start soon.

Ward councillor and council leader Mark Hook said: ‘The EFA refused the funding initially, but the school went to appeal and asked Caroline Dinenage MP and myself to write in and explain the necessity for the school to have this facility.

‘It’s hugely important for the health and wellbeing of the young people, particularly when we have such high obesity figures.

‘And it will also be a well-used community facility, so its impact reaches beyond just the school.

‘There’s nothing to hold this back now so they can crack on with the work as soon as possible.

‘I gather they’ll be starting work immediately.’

The current old hall be knocked down and the new hall will be built on the school field.

It will be used by the school in the day and community groups will have access from 6pm to 9.30pm on week days and 9am to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays.

Following comments from a nearby resident, an extra condition was added limiting the hours of construction to 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm on Saturday and none at all on Sundays.

Cllr Hook added: ‘We thought it was important as they will be building near to Tower Close and some residential areas, so we put that on as well.’

The EFA had turned the school down twice for the funding and school is currently using a £120,000 temporary sports hall which it got the cash for following a successful appeal against the initial rejection.

Headteacher Ian Potter had previously told The News the hall was part of the school’s bid to ‘encourage young people to engage in sport’.

It is hoped the hall will be ready within the year.