Sports rink would be one of five of its kind in the UK

NEW HOME? Roller hockey is one of the sports that could be played in the new facility in Fareham
NEW HOME? Roller hockey is one of the sports that could be played in the new facility in Fareham
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A MULTI-SPORT rink could soon be built in Fareham.

The British Rink Hockey Association and Salmiakki Sports would like to build a multi-sport facility in the town, which would be only one of five in the UK.

It would be created in an existing warehouse and would provide a place to play a number of disabled and minority sports.

Salmiakki Sports have put forward a proposal to Fareham Borough Council, which would see the council put in half of the money – £20,000 – from its match funding account.

It has projected that the centre would cost £40,150 to set up. The remaining £20,150 would be raised through a charity account.

The centre has requested a relief of business rates to make sure it is viable. If the funds are approved, the facility could be built and operational in three months’ time.

The project was started by the inline hockey community and will benefit many local teams such as the Fareham Wildcats, Southampton Hornets, Ferndown Falcons and the University of Portsmouth.

The rink will be able to cater for roller derby, box lacrosse, inline sledge hockey, walking futsal, handball, floorball, goalball and a range of wheelchair sports.

As it will be of regulation size, 20m by 40m, it would be able to be used for tournaments which attract many visitors to their host towns, boosting local tourism.

The nearest site of this size is at the Lord Roberts Centre at Bisley in Surrey.

Sue Webber, manager of the Fareham Wildcats, an inline hockey team, said: ‘Playing in a rink is very different to playing in a hall. This is good news for the disabled people in the area and good news for us.

‘Hopefully it will give people in the area, especially younger people, an opportunity to get involved.’

The council’s leisure strategy identified shortfalls in indoor sports provisions and lack of choice.

Chairman of leisure and community Councillor Susan Bell said: ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for Fareham and it is exactly the sort of project that our match funding account was made for.

‘Having received the proposals at the panel meeting, I’m very excited by it.’

The plans will now go before executive at the council’s meeting in March.