CIVIC chiefs have approved spending a six-figure sum to tackle chronic drainage problems on a Winchester playing field.

The Garrison Ground at Bar End has a long standing issue with drainage and often becomes waterlogged in the corner next to Bar End Road after heavy rain.

A report to Cabinet said the building of the leisure centre had not worsened the problem but gave an opportunity to alleviate the situation.

The intention is to include an outdoor gym in the Sport and Leisure Park in partnership with local charity Allegra’s Ambition.

The area prone to flooding is the preferred location of the charity for gym, but the drainage needs to be sorted first.

Opposition councillors questioned whether the time was right to spend money on a new outdoor gym, with the city council making job cuts at the Guildhall.

Cllr Hugh Lumby questioned spending money on an outdoor gym: "Given the financial position of the council and savings being sought, should we be committing to additional non-essential expenditure?"

Cllr Mike Read questioned why the outdoor gym was being build at Bar End on the edge of the city instead of at River Park in the city centre.

Chas Bradfield, strategic director, said the outdoor gym would complement the indoor facilities.

The Cabinet approved spending up to £150,000 to improve drainage.

The meeting heard from Cllr Lumby about progress on the leisure centre. “I have concerns that the project is in delay. We believe the contractor is seeking additional payments. I asked about the quantum but no details have been provided.”

No Lib Dem councillor addressed his comment.

Allegra’s Ambition was set up in memory of Allegra Whittome, 16, a pupil at St Swithun’s School and keen athlete, who died in 2016.