SIR: Sport England’s response for the city council’s application for the new sports centre at Bar End is appallingly inaccurate and should be withdrawn.

The organisation made much of no group changing rooms, that the sports hall floor should be sprung, that there were issues with wheelchair viewing and no first floor viewing gallery – all this is wholly wrong. Someone from this body needs to actually read the plans properly and also read the comments made by the Accessibility Advisory Group. Both it and the charity Help for Heroes endorsed the design as well thought out in its provision for disabled users, including the use of sports hall windows for a welcoming environment!

On a further point, the new sports hall will be eight-court, a big improvement on the existing River Park facilities. This means the new hall will be able to accommodate twice as many matches at any one time for the majority of sports groups compared to now. Eight-court versus six-court is not like for like Sport England!

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Agreement reached with Sport England and Hampshire FA means the girls football club will have more durable pitches ready for the 2018/19 season and improved changing facilities. Winchester boxing Club is also delighted with their new home and only await the delivery of their new boxing ring to move in.

The Winchester Hockey Club stated a preference for outdoor – hence the reason the sport hall is too small for hockey. It’s true they would like an additional outdoor pitch, but that land is owned by Hampshire County Council, which the hockey club understands.

Sport England has let us, and residents, down enormously and irresponsibly with their submission and negativity. I know many people are excited by these plans. There are compromises to be made and they are not perfect – nothing is - but they are a vast improvement and will make a real difference.

The council has called for Sport England to correct the record. We’re happy for a holding objection but please, let’s make sure residents are not mislead.

Cllr Lisa Griffiths,

Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing and Ward Councillor for Alresford and Itchen Valley,

Bishop’s Sutton Road,