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Locals outraged at new plans for River Park leisure centre
“FIELDS not gyms” and “green space - not building space.”
That’s the message from outraged locals after the Hampshire Chronicle revealed city council plans to build a £25m replacement leisure centre on a playing field next to the existing building at River Park.
It will mean the loss of green open space and a cricket pitch but the new 8,000 sq m centre will be nearly twice the size of the existing one with a much bigger gym.
During building works, estimated to take two years, the current centre, which needs major repairs, would remain open Under the proposals, the existing building would be demolished to make way for a 300-space care park, about twice the size of the existing one.
But outraged local residents in Hyde have launched a campaign to fight the scheme under the banner “Save Our Rec.”
Eric Starr was among those who posted comments on the campaign website protesting against “the turning of this green heart into an urban sprawl of mega centre and yet more tarmac causing thousands more cars” to use Gordon Road and North Walls.
Others pointed out the green space was popular with families, dog walkers and school children as well as cricket clubs.
They argued the playing field was free to use and it was wrong to replace it with a building in which people have to pay to exercise.
Some said they would prefer the existing centre to be revamped on its current location while others argued Bar End was a better location.
The city council is also facing opposition from Fit For The Future, an umbrella group of sports clubs, who also want a new centre with a 50-metre pool built on playing fields at Bar End.
“Save Our Rec” campaigners are being urged to attend a public meeting in the Guildhall onThurs Sept 26, starting at 7.30pm, when council chiefs will outline the latest proposals and different options considered to date.
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