PLANS to transform Southampton Outdoor Sports Centre by giving it a £20m upgrade have been approved.
Southampton City Council has awarded itself planning permission to enhance almost every part of the 150-acre complex, which was built before the Second World War.
In June the authority said the scheme would go ahead if flood and drainage mitigation measures could be agreed with the Environment Agency.
According to the council's website, the application has now been approved - subject to conditions.
The centrepiece of the proposed development is a large"community hub" building boasting a cafe, gym, multi-function rooms and changing facilities.
Council bosses are also planning "significant improvements" to the Alpine Snowsports Centre, including a new ski lodge with a reception area and party rooms.
Earlier this year architects LK2 released 3D images of the planned improvements.
In a statement, LK2 said the scheme would dramatically increase opportunities for communities across Southampton to boost their level of physical activity.
"Football, tennis, cricket,cycling, netball, and hockey will see improvements in the provision, including the addition of three new artificial grass football pitches and a new sports hall with indoor tennis and netball courts.
"The former boating lake will be transformed into a family zone providing open space access to an outdoor gym, ‘earn to ride’cycling, skatepark, and children's play.
"Physical activity contributes £39 billion to the UK's economy, a significant portion of which comes from grassroots sport.
"The redeveloped centre will not only improve community sports provision but also create job opportunities and indirectly reduce costs to the NHS by facilitating a healthier, more physically active nation."
The scheme has attracted widespread support, despite concerns over the loss of a cricket pitch.
In a letter to the council, Friends of Southampton Sports Centre (FoSSC), said: "Improvement is long overdue and very much needed,the site having suffered decades of neglect."
FoSSC said opportunities to build on the success of the2012 London Olympics had been "completely missed".
It added: "Whilst the OSC is located in Bassett it is not Bassett’s outdoor sports centre, it is the city’s outdoor sports centre. Modern, future-proofed facilities that will last a generation are essential."
In June a report to councillors said the scheme was acceptable.
It said the loss of a cricket pitch and the creation of a new car park "are not judged to have sufficient weight to justify a refusal".
Source – Daily Echo