PLANS for a four court sports hall in addition to Winchester's new eight-court leisure centre are in the pipeline.

The business case for the scheme at Bar End is to be put forward next week following the approval of an agreed facility mix back in November.

City councillors will also hear project updates, which are expected to include initial feedback from the series of engagement sessions that have taken place as well as a proposal for a four court sports hall outside the City of Winchester area.

As reported in the Chronicle, cabinet voted to build an eight, rather than 12, court facility – the same number as at the current River Park Leisure Centre, which it will be replacing.

Cabinet members defended the plans, saying that the research indicated an eight-court hall would be sufficient and meet Sport England requirements.

The £37.5 million leisure centre will include an Olympic-length (50m) swimming pool that can be separated into two smaller pools, a learner pool and a water play area, in addition to the sports hall.

The new centre will also have a ‘clip and climb’ facility, four squash courts, a hydrotherapy suite and eight treatment rooms, two large studios, a spin studio and 200-station gym. There will be a flexible space that can be used as a creche or soft play area, and cafe.

The outline business case also sets out how the project is to be funded and to determine whether it is financially viable.

Of the £37.5 million, £8 million is anticipated to be funded through partners and the remainder by the council.

A contribution of £1 million of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding will also be sought.

This will be used to enable an access point onto the public highway, access improvements for pedestrians and cyclists and drainage works.

The committee will meet to discuss the leisure centre on January 16.

The council seeks to submit a planning application by early summer 2018.

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