Winchester Fit for the Future
We’re a voluntary group made up of people from community sports clubs and other institutions in and around Winchester, Hampshire – and we’re developing economically, socially and environmentally sustainable community proposals for a new sports and leisure centre.
Why we need a new leisure centre
Winchester’s current sports provision is patchy and fragmented. Local facilities for training and competition are inadequate, even for popular sports such as swimming, netball, football and gymnastics.
Community facilities are limited and private facilities are relatively plentiful. Sports traditionally played by men and boys are better served than those popular with women and girls. Many clubs have long waiting lists and are unable to expand existing squads or form new ones, due to a lack of accessible and reliable facilities. We must address these constraints to enhance participation in sports and the development of new talent.
The existing public leisure centre opened in 1974, is extremely energy inefficient and has a whopping carbon footprint of 1,222 tonnes a year. At least £4 million of capital investment is needed to repair and refurbish the centre, just to keep it going – and even with that, the facilities wouldn’t meet competition standards.
About our work
Recognising that urgent action was needed, community sports clubs got together to form Winchester Fit for the Future. Working closely with the University of Winchester – which boasts an excellent sports department and an award-winning environmentally sustainable estate – our team of volunteers is carrying out research and analysis, consulting national governing bodies for sport and local experts, and developing detailed proposals for a new community sports and leisure centre.
We want to get our community active and bring people together through sport. And this requires a new sports facility that is a focal point for the community..."
We published outline proposals in May 2012. Since then, we’ve been working on a business case, to demonstrate how a new centre could be sustainable – economically, socially and environmentally. Experts from the community are donating their time and skills in areas such as planning and architectural design. Our volunteers are also getting out and about, discussing the proposals with local people and giving them the chance to show their support via a petition.
The sports centre campaign was boosted by a Track2Track Relay, marking the close of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, which saw runners carry the petition in a baton from London's Olympic Park to Winchester's athletics track.
We want to get our community active and bring people together through sport. And this requires a new sports facility that is a focal point for the community, accessible to all potential users – within the City of Winchester, its broader District and beyond. Our proposals incorporate maximum flexibility, to serve as many sports and leisure interests as possible, within a compact facility that’s sympathetic to its surroundings.
Environmental and other sustainability initiatives
- Options for on-site power generation are being explored, including photovoltaic panels and ground source heat pumps.
- We’re recommending the incorporation of super-insulation, a solar thermal hot water system, rainwater harvesting and UV water treatment for the pool, to minimise running costs and ensure longevity.
- We’re working with local architects and planners to develop transport maps, showing how the new facility could be accessed on foot, and by bicycle, bus and car.
- We believe that incorporating environmental technologies will help Winchester to meet its carbon reduction targets.
- We’re also looking at how a new sports centre might play a part in economic and social regeneration; including giving young people an opportunity to engage in apprenticeships in areas such as sports coaching and facility management.