£2m plan to boost sports hub in Waterlooville

Theresa Paddon with her two children, Lee, 18 months, and Darren, three, at their home in Leigh Park

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MULTI-million-pound plans have been launched to transform leisure facilities in Waterlooville.

Horizon Leisure Centres, a charitable company that runs both Havant and Waterlooville Leisure Centre, is applying to Havant Borough Council for a major revamp of the facilities in Waterlooville.

The plan would see the current gym quadruple in size by adding an extension on to the existing building in Waterberry Drive.

This scheme would cost around £800,000.

The second phase of the project would involve building a sports facility, such as a sports hall, on the site.

This would be paid for through developers’ contributions to the tune of £1.4m from the building of Waterlooville’s Major Development Area.

However, the second part of the scheme could be some time away as the money is not available until most of the homes are completed.

Horizon Leisure Centres currently runs the facility on a lease from Havant Borough Council.

The gym extension is needed as demand has become so high – with people often having to queue for fitness equipment.

Howard Broad, chief executive of Horizon Leisure Centres, said: ‘The growth in memberships and usage of the centre over recent years has been increased further following the Olympics and Paralympics this year.

‘In certain areas of the business we are unable to meet customer demand and the time is right to improve the sporting facilities on offer at the Waterlooville centre and capitalise on the legacy opportunities this presents.

‘A new and significantly enlarged gym, complete with dance studios will further encourage the community to take up healthy exercise, tackle obesity and improve social wellbeing.

‘We are all excited to put the ambitious plans in motion as soon as possible.’

Mr Broad said the company had been saving for the last two years to find the £800,000 needed.

A loan from Havant Borough Council has not been ruled out to top up funds, although Mr Broad said he may have to seek other funding streams given the current financial climate in local government.

He added: ‘We are keeping our options open with regards to how to fund it.

‘The trust has been setting aside money over the last two years from trading surplus to put us in a position to kickstart the project.’

Havant’s cabinet is set to support the plans by allowing some of the land on the site to be built on.

A detailed planning application will be submitted at a later date.

If approved, building work could start next summer.