A NEW leisure centre for Winchester could be a step closer.

The city council plans to commission surveys into whether River Park Leisure Centre should be repaired or replaced.

The council wants detailed reports on three key areas – an account of repair and maintenance work required over the next 10 years, analysis of the content, scope and costs of a replacement and a planning report on where a replacement could be built.

Over the next three months consultants are expected to speak with sports clubs, governing bodies and existing facilities to establish what provision is needed.

The information must be reported back to the council by March 29 and cost of the surveys is around £50,000.

Emma Back, of Winchester Fit for the Future, a group campaigning for improved sports facilities in the city, said the council was taking too long to make a decision.

She said: “I think this could be done sooner than March and I would like to know why it will take so long. We have been talking about repairs at River Park for at least six years and that is too long. We don’t want to see any further delay.

“The council ought to be able to make a decision in principle so let’s make that decision to build a new centre and then move on to where and what. I don’t see anything in the way of the council taking that decision.”

She reiterated the group wants Bar End as the site for a new centre because of good transport links and existing sporting facilities.