No date has been set for the demolition of Winchester's biggest eyesore, a meeting heard.

The River Park Leisure Centre has lain empty for several years since the opening of the new sports centre at Bar End and has been targeted by vandal and graffiti artists.

It is is part of the site that the city council proposes to dispose of to Southampton University as it expands its School of Art campus in Park Avenue.

Green councillor Malcolm Wallace asked Cabinet about the declining state of the building, constructed after a blaze in 1987. "It's difficult to understand the delays and why a site in a prime Winchester location is being left to go to rack and ruin."

Local campaigners want the site to be retained as a public space, arguing the area was left to the city for public recreation.

It was last used about three years ago and has been replaced by the Sport and Leisure Park in Bar End.

The Cabinet was told that funds are in place for the demolition.

City council leader Martin Tod told the scrutiny committee: "There will come a time when the building will need to be demolished. We haven't yet set a date of when that time is going to be."

A few days later when the issue was raised again at Cabinet he said: "We have no plans to demolish it until we know what will replace it. When we know what is coming that is the time to look at an integrated process of taking down and building and putting up a new one