Schoolchildren help to pick new name for leisure centre in Fareham

An artist's impression of the new centre
An artist's impression of the new centre
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CONTRACTS for a planned £9m leisure centre and swimming pool have been awarded by a council, as well as the complex receiving its new name.

The new centre, planned for the Western Wards of Fareham, on the site of the former Coldeast Hospital, will see a six-lane 25m pool, learner pool, spectator seating, changing facilities, 100-station gym, dance and spinning studio plus 200 parking spaces built off Barnes Lane.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council Sean Woodward awarded the contract to Balfour Beatty at a meeting last night, where its new name – Holly Hill Leisure Centre –was also unveiled.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘It is a brilliant project and our intention is to make sure it is a very high quality centre.’

The centre was given planning permission in February, but since then the cost has increased – rising from £7m to £9m – but Cllr Woodward said this cost now includes a new road, junction, sports pitches and includes the rise in inflation.

Cllr Woodward said he had been working to bring a swimming pool to the Western Wards for 16 years and that it was the council’s largest-ever leisure project. He said: ‘It is very appropriate, given that 40 per cent of the borough’s residents live in the Western Wards, that a leisure centre is built there.’

Almost 500 pupils from Sarisbury Infant School, Sarisbury Junior School and Park Gate Primary School voted from a choice of names for the centre – Holly Hill Leisure Centre, Woodlands Leisure Centre and Coldeast Leisure Centre.

It was close, but Holly Hill (201 votes) narrowly beat Woodlands (194 votes) and Coldeast (103 votes).

Executive member for leisure and community Connie Hockley said: ‘It was important that local young people chose the name of the leisure centre as they are the ones, along with their families, who will be enjoying the facility for years to come.’

Work should start on the site next month, and is expected to be finished by May next year. SLM, which also manages Fareham Leisure Centre, will manage the centre once built.