Volunteers help create rural oasis by leisure centre

The orchard being pruned by leader of Fareham Borough Council Sean Woodward  Picture: Paul Jacobs (143547-1)
The orchard being pruned by leader of Fareham Borough Council Sean Woodward Picture: Paul Jacobs (143547-1)
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VOLUNTEERS have been helping clear woodlands near the proposed site for a leisure centre.

Working with Fareham Borough Council, a small group of people have been clearing brambles and pruning trees in Sarisbury.

The work ties in with the new Coldeast leisure complex which will be located near the woodland.

As part of its proposal for the new swimming pool and sport pitches, the council bought the privately-owned woodland and hopes to turn it into an area similar to Holly Hill Woodland Park, also in Sarisbury.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘When we started planning for the western wards swimming pool, we always wanted to keep as much of the surrounding countryside as possible.

‘It used to be privately-owned so no-one had access but we want to open it up so that it gets similar use to that of Holly Hill.’

The site, which is off Sarisbury Recreation Ground, off Allotment Road, includes a large pond and an orchard.

Ten volunteers worked with ranger Helen Sosnowski to get the overgrown site cleared.

Helen said: ‘When we first started on the project in October, the brambles were taller than me and you wouldn’t know there was an orchard there.

‘But in two months we have managed to get ride of most of the brambles surrounding the orchard and we are now pruning the trees.

‘It has made such a difference and people can walk their dogs around here now.’

Similar work was done around the banks of the pond including a path being built.

Volunteer Sue Tyler, from Portchester, said: ‘I’m proud of all the work we have been able to achieve in such a short amount of time.

‘The council has got a good balance with the size of the leisure complex and the amount of countryside they are keeping.’

As previously reported in The News, Fareham Borough Council has submitted plans for the £7m swimming pool and leisure centre.

It will be built on the former Coldeast Hospital site, off Barnes Lane, and will include a 25m pool with six swimming lanes, a learner pool, a gym with 100 pieces of equipment, an exercise room, a cycle spinning studio and a dance studio.

It will also have football pitches, an allotment, a cemetery and an orchard.