- The article itself: Anger growing over leisure centre plans at River Park in Winchester
- The Save The Rec website is here: http://savetherec.weebly.com/
- Also later today there will be a meeting held by the Council: Meeting about future of River Park Leisure Centre. (Please note that you will have to register your interest and reserve a seat to take part in the meeting. This wasn't very clear from the press release. Apparently members of the Leisure Centre have been invited - however in our household we never got an invite despite my son having a swimming membership. This should really be an open meeting as the plans affect far more people than just those with a membership at the Leisure Centre.)
There are a number of concerns about the Council's plans:
Loss of open space
During the Save The Parks campaign a number of residents of Abbotts Barton have been told by city officers that the parkland in Abbotts Barton is not that important to keep intact as there is always North Walls Recreation Ground. Needless to say, we disagree with that completely: a) North Walls is not in view by houses in Abbotts Barton (important when you have children), and b) always very busy, you can't just go there and do a community event on the weekend without colliding with many other people and groups. And now a big part of it is supposed to be built on? If the councillors keep coming up with more ideas for the destruction of green spaces in Winchester, soon all of Winchester will have to make do with whatever little space is left at North Walls! Great prospect.
Yes, we do understand that the Leisure Centre can't go on for much longer in its current state and we also understand that it needs to cater for more people than just Winchester residents - and we also love that it's close to us. But maybe there is another way, for example splitting it up into two, with possibly a swimming pool at Bar End and an update to what exists currently?
Also a new improved Leisure Centre as per the current plans of the Council would create quite a lot more traffic into the dead end system of Gorden Road, right past a busy school, St. Bede's. This of course is troubling parents who want to make sure they and their children can walk to school safely. And of course it would also affect the people living along those roads.
Even if the traffic flow would be changed to a one way system (in at Gordon Road, out via Park Avenue) this would not be great as there are currently a play area and a skate park which would then possibly be right next to the road, or even worse divided by it.
Equally, the path along the field in question is already very busy as it is not only one of the main walking routes to school and into town but also used a lot by cyclists (it is a shared path). Careful planning would have to be done here to make this safer for both parties, pedestrians and cyclists!
The main thing to remember is that once open space is gone, it's gone forever!
If these plans trouble you, we can only recommend for you to write to Winchester City Council once again.