SIR: I read with dismay your reports that some local people oppose the plans for the University of Southampton to develop its activities in the city on the site of the old River Park Leisure Centre (Chronicle, December 30). The city should be looking for different ways to make use of this prime site now that we have a new, much improved, leisure centre at Bar End.

It is surprising that anyone would discourage Winchester from welcoming a proposal from a world-class, research-led, university wanting to expand its presence in the city. Other towns and cities would go out of their way to create such an opportunity. And of course universities are not commercial bodies. Their purpose is to deliver public good, and they have no shareholders to whom profits are distributed.

Winchester has lost many jobs in recent decades with the decline in public sector employment, and the opportunity for growth in the knowledge and creative economy sector will be of great benefit to the city and this must surely be something that all residents should welcome.

John Lauwerys,

Bishopstoke Lane,