WINCHESTER civic campaigners want answers to questions over city council plans for a new leisure centre.

The council has stirred widespread opposition by proposing a new leisure centre on playing fields at River Park.

A two-week public consultation will be held, starting on November 18.

One option, proposed in a report by Savills to the council, states: “The building would occupy most of the area of the existing cricket pitch resulting in complete change in character of this part of the site from open recreation ground to built development.”

The City of Winchester Trust is calling for more research into the options, including developing land at Bar End, before a decision is taken.

In a statement the trust queried the effect of increasing the size of the centre and doubling the size of the car park off Gordon Road.

It also asks that if Bar End is chosen how much of the cost could be offset by selling the River Park site to developers.

Meanwhile the public exhibition on various options will run from 1pm on Monday November 18 to Monday December 2 at the River Park Leisure Centre at North Walls and the Guildhall.

Visitors to the exhibition will be invited to write down their views to help Cabinet to come to a decision to recommend to Council.

Staff will be on hand to talk to visitors on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 26-27 (2pm-8pm) at the Guildhall.

Keith Wood, leader of the city council, said: “We want particularly to hear the views of the current users of the centre on the possible options to refurbish or replace the River Park Leisure Centre.

“The final decision will be taken by the full Council. It will be a difficult decision that cannot please everyone, so we want to make our judgement based on the best information available together with a clear sense of the views of leisure centre users, sports clubs and council tax payers.”

The four options are: new build at Bar End; new build at River Park either a) using the tennis courts, artificial turf pitch and a strip of land alongside or b) using the tennis courts, artificial turf pitch and a significant part of the existing leisure centre site; refurbish the existing centre.