South Glos

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Council facing potential legal challenge over planned transfer of former leisure centre site to university

Winchester City Council has been threatened with a judicial review by a local campaign group over its plans to turn over a former leisure centre site to the University of Southampton.

The council said the Friends of River Park had sent a pre-action letter, which voiced concern about the consultation process.

Although the group has no apparent online presence, the Southern Daily Echo has carried a statement in which it said: “There was no notice and no opportunity for public debate about the future uses of this publicly owned space.

“Rapid action by a group to be known as Friends of River Park has resulted in the issuing of formal notice to the council of their intention to apply for a judicial review.”

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A council statement said: “No application for judicial review has been made at this time.

“The council has received a pre-application letter. The purpose of this letter is to identify the issues in dispute and whether court proceedings can be avoided. The council will always seek to constructively engage with this process, especially where this can avoid formal action being taken.”

Winchester said the university expressed interest in acquiring the site of the former River Park Leisure Centre, which closed last May.

The land is adjacent to the university’s Winchester School of Art site and could be used to expand the campus.

Mark Smulian

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