'Exciting' new £12.5m leisure centre planned for Portsmouth
AN 'EXCITING' new £12.5m leisure centre is set to be built in Portsmouth following support from the public.
The city council will press ahead with plans to create a new community and leisure facility on the site of the existing Eastney Community Centre, in Bransbury Park, that will include a gym, sports hall, two pools and meeting rooms.
As reported, the new site will also replace Eastney Swimming Pool and Wimbledon Sports Centre, which would have needed £850,000 to bring them up to scratch.
Councillor Steve Pitt, the council's deputy leader, said: 'We made a promise that we would bring forward plans to either completely refurbish, rebuild or replace Eastney Pool and Wimbledon Park Sports Centre.
'The pandemic has made it more important than ever to invest in sport and leisure and get more people active.
'It is clear that a co-location of the community, sports and swimming centres into one new facility is both the public's and the council's preferred option.
'We want to reassure residents that this will not involve the loss of any of the existing grassed areas and plans will need to address concerns over parking.'
A public consultation on the proposals was held last year, with 63 per cent of 1,800 respondents saying they wanted the new facility at Bransbury Park - and 22 per cent objected to the idea.
Specialist consultants now been brought in and it is estimated the new centre will cost £12.5m - a sum that needs to be agreed as part of the council's capital budget for 2021/22.
Cllr Pitt added: 'I am delighted that we have been able to allocate sufficient funding in the council's capital budget to ensure that this exciting project can be delivered, subject to further discussions with Sport England. I hope full council support these once in a generation plans.'
It comes after the council faced backlash for plans to close the pools at the Pyramids Centre in Southsea in favour of a soft play facility and new gym.
The budget report will be considered at a cabinet meeting next week, before being given final approval or amendments at full council on February 9.
Plans for the centre will be considered at a meeting on February 5.