Exciting times ahead for Leigh Park as £1.3m sports facility is approved

  • Meeting hears park is one of the ‘hidden secrets’ of Leigh Park
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A £1.3m sports facility that will benefit thousands of youngsters was approved last night.

The planning committee of Havant Borough Council gave the green light to the improvements at Front Lawn Recreation Ground, off Somborne Drive in Leigh Park.

The revamped sports ground will be in the heart of Leigh Park, just a short walk from the main shops.

A floodlit full-size artificial turf football pitch, a large extension and modernisation of the current sports 
pavilion, and a floodlit multi-use games area were among the changes agreed at the meeting at The Plaza.

The council is putting £250,000 into the project, with the rest of the cash expected to come from Sport England and the Football Foundation, subject to grant funding approval.

Faith Ponsonby, a Lib Dem councillor for Leigh Park, spoke at the meeting to encourage the committee to approve the plans.

She said: ‘This development will enhance provision of physical activity opportunities in Leigh Park.’

Richard Wood, senior leisure officer for the council, said Havant is currently the least active borough in Hampshire.

And he said the park 
sits within one of most deprived communities in England.

Cllr Ponsonby said there had been some concerns from dog walkers about the loss of space.

But she said: ‘There’s a huge amount of space still left.’

She said many people did not even realise the recreation ground existed.

‘It’s one of the hidden secrets of the ward,’ she said.

Cllr Ponsonby said the floodlighting – which has to be switched off by 9.30pm – would encourage more local people to go out jogging in the evening.

The meeting heard there will be an extra 57 parking spaces and 10 additional disabled parking bays.

Councillors voted unanimously to approve it.

One of the partners on the project could be charity Big World Impact, which 
works with children from tough backgrounds on the estate.

Nicki Conyard, community team leader at the council, told The News: ‘We are looking for interested parties to manage the site.’