PORTSMOUTH will soon be home to the ‘most sustainable leisure centre in the UK’ - which will feature bee boxes.
At a planning committee on Thursday councillors voted unanimously in favour of a £53m sports hall that will serve both university students and the public.
The 935sq m building in Ravelin Park will boast an eight-court sports hall, a 25m swimming pool, multi-purpose studios, climbing wall and a ski simulator among others.
The building, that will be part of the University of Portsmouth campus, will also have teaching rooms, office space and an underground car park. And as part of the university’s pledge to the environment it will also feature solar panels, a grass roof and bee boxes.
The council’s regeneration boss, Cllr Ben Dowling, said: ‘It is a really positive thing for the city. It will be the most sustainable building in the city and the first leisure building in the country that will have that level of sustainability. I am pleased the university is willing to work to make this available to members of the public, not just students.’
Professor Graham Galbraith, vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘This new facility will help us to deliver an outstanding student experience and create a dynamic sporting environment, as well as connecting us with our local community and making a significant contribution to our city.’
Speaking at the committee Cllr Luke Stubbs was in favour of the hall. ‘I think this is an excellent scheme. And the fact that it will be open to the public is very positive and welcome,’ he said.
However, Cllr Lynne Stagg, said: ‘It is a really welcome addition to the city but I think it’s sad that just because it doesn’t have historical significance the rotunda is going to be lost. It’s sad about the loss of hedges.
‘And I think the building looks awful because it’s just boxes. I appreciate that it is a sports hall and can’t have windows.’
The surrounding area will also be redesigned, with new trees planted to replace those that will have to be cut down.