Sport & Leisure Park Winchester - Phase 2

Closed 18 Aug 2017

Opened 21 Jul 2017

Feedback updated 31 Jan 2018

We asked

For thoughts and opinions about emerging Urban Design Framework (UDF) and early (concept) ideas for the Sport & Leisure Centre Building.

You said

A total of 253 people attended the three manned exhibition events at the Guildhall and Sports Stadium between Friday 21st July and Tuesday 25th July.

Phase 2 generated 389 completed questionnaires.

Detailed feedback from the Phase 1 engagement was presented on the exhibition boards and hard copies given to event attendees to read at their leisure. 82% of respondents felt that the feedback summary helpful. Phase 2 generated similar local development impact concerns resulting from the development as was cited in Phase 1.

The questionnaire sought feedback as the degree to which respondents use other sporting facilities. Just under half of the respondents (of which there were 357) visit other sport and leisure centres. Their reasons for using other centres included the range of facilities (64%), the quality of facilities (41%) and ease of access (34%). The three principle activities which respondents undertake at these destinations are swimming (58%), Gym (26%) and sports hall uses (24%).

Without exception, there was an overwhelming positive reaction from respondents to each of the 22 proposed Urban Design Framework suggestions or strategies.

The three UDF components which generated the highest approval rating (by adding the “Strongly Agree” and “Agree” percentages) were:

a. Investigating pedestrian and cycle connections to the existing St Catherine’s Park and Ride site (87%)

b. Encouragement for the existing Park and Ride Bus Service to serve the Sport & Leisure Park (87%)

c. Amendments to the local road network resulting in safe pedestrian and cycle connections between the site and the National Cycle Route 23 to the west (85%).

The strategy which generated the highest “Strongly Agree” response was the encouragement to utilise the existing Park and Ride and Bus Service 4 to serve the Sport & Leisure Park (50%). This is a WCC / Public Transport operator management issue, though would need to be accommodated by means new bus stopping points either within or adjacent to the site. This could require collaborative working with the County Council as Highways Authority.

The three UDF components which generated the highest disapproval rating (by adding the “Strongly disagree” and “disagree” percentages) were:

a. The Garrison Ground being the most suitable location for the proposed Sport & Leisure Centre (23%).

(By way of comparison, this generated an approval rating of 61%).

b. The WSLP forming an appropriate gateway to the South Downs Way (15%).

(By way of comparison, this also generated an approval rating of 61%).

c. An outdoor gym / activity area being an asset (11%).

(By way of comparison, this generated an approval rating of 70%).

Note: two other components also generated a similar reaction: the main entrance into the site being from Bar End (9%), and the northern access from Milland Road being restricted to emergency and maintenance vehicles only (9%).

The majority of UDF components generated a disapproval rating of between just 3% and 8%.

Open ended responses

The use of open ended questions under each of the main topics in the questionnaire generated the following comments:

The Sports & Leisure Park (195)

Issues raised included: the importance of balancing the needs of the community with the perception that the Park could become a Sporting Centre of excellence (for elite athletes/swimmers); support for the retention of the King George V Playing fields as grassed pitches and a pavilion to serve their use; the importance of making a natural, direct, footpath connection between the two halves of the Park (over land currently controlled by HCC) and support for an external natural trim trail around the periphery of the site (linked to a strengthening of the landscape boundary).

Access and Movement strategy (122)

Issues raised included: Parking demand and adequate provision within the Park, relationship to (and capacity of) the nearby Park and Ride Sites, support for pedestrian and cycling facilities and safer connecting routes into the Park, residents parking permit scheme revisions in the adjacent areas. Concerns were raised by some over the relative accessibility of the Park at Bar End over the existing River Park Leisure Centre.

The relationship between the Sport & Leisure Park and the South Downs National Park (80)

Issues raised included: Opinion was divided as to the relevance of connecting the Park with the South Downs Way. Many considered that those accessing the South Downs National Park (SNDP) would not wish to participate in Leisure Centre activities as part of a dual trip: others suggesting that if the connection was encouraged, South Downs Way walkers would use the on-site Leisure Centre parking spaces to the detriment of users. This appeared to be a marginal issue for many.

The relationship between the Sport and Leisure Park and adjacent uses (78)

Issues raised included: A concern was raised by some that the absence of a formal proposal for the Depot Site results in an inability to fully understand the “end state” impact of the urban design framework. The absence of technical assessments to demonstrate how the development will impact upon residents was cited as a concern by those who are live immediately adjacent or close to the site. As with Phase 1, a well organised but small interest group supported the idea of an Ice Rink on the adjacent Depot Site.

Environmental and Landscape (76)

Issues raised included: The natural qualities of the area remain important to many respondents, with numerous references supporting the retention of, or creation of new, “unkempt areas” as a way of increasing biodiversity gains. Many respondents supported the initiative to provide for peripheral routes for running / training / walking, though support was not as strong for the creation of an “outdoor gym

We did

In response to feedback from the public engagement sessions in June and July 2017 the vision for the Sport & Leisure Park has evolved and a concept design for the Sport & Leisure Centre and the Urban Design Framework for Bar End has been developed.

A third Phase of engagement ran between Friday 8 December 2017 – Sunday 21 January 2018  which offered an opportunity for the public to comment on these initial concept designs.  The designs are still available to view on the Council’s website


River Park Leisure Centre is more than 40 years old and its ability to meet the needs of a growing population in Winchester is limited. The City Council has looked at various options for replacing or refurbishing it and has commissioned work from external consultants to test the various options.

In September 2015, having looked at the cost and practicality of these various options, the Council agreed that the preferred option, if it is affordable and deliverable, would be a new leisure centre built at Bar End.

The Council purchased the Garrison Ground at Bar End in December 2016. This will secure the future of the Garrison Ground for community sport and leisure use and means that part of the site can be evaluated as an option for the location of the City's new Sport & Leisure Centre.

Stride Treglown architects in conjunction with LA architects, on behalf of Winchester City Council and the University of Winchester are engaging local people through a series of ‘drop-in’ events between 21st - 25th July about the future development of the Winchester Sport & Leisure Park at Bar End.

Winchester Guildhall (SO23 9GH)

Friday 21st July between 3.00pm and 7.30pm

Tuesday 25th July between 3.00pm and 8.00pm

Winchester Sports Stadium (SO23 0QA)

Saturday 22nd July between 10.00am and 4.00pm

This phase of engagement will focus more on the emerging Design Framework and early concept ideas for the Sport & Leisure Centre.

Copies of the exhibition boards can be found on the Council's website and a feedback questionnaire is available (see link below) from Friday 21st July until Friday 18th August.


Why your views matter

Your comments will help shape the future of this exciting project and we look forward to receiving your views.



  • Bishops Waltham
  • Boarhunt And Southwick
  • Cheriton And Bishops Sutton
  • Colden Common And Twyford
  • Compton And Otterbourne
  • Denmead
  • Droxford
  • Itchen Valley
  • Kings Worthy
  • Littleton And Harestock
  • Olivers Battery And Badger Farm
  • Owslebury And Curdridge
  • Shedfield
  • Sparsholt
  • St Barnabas
  • St Bartholomew
  • St John And All Saints
  • St Luke
  • St Michael
  • St Paul
  • Swanmore And Newtown
  • The Alresfords
  • Upper Meon Valley
  • Whiteley
  • Wickham
  • Wonston And Micheldever


  • Anyone from any background


  • Community Facility