Southampton City Council is progressing with its plans to level up inclusive access to sport after winning Levelling Up Funding (LUF).

The exciting plans to expand inclusive access to sport and opportunities to be active at Southampton’s Outdoor Sports Centre have been given the green light by the Levelling Up Fund and the council’s attention can now turn to delivering the improvements, cementing the legacy of the UEFA Women’s Euros in Southampton while reducing inequality in physical activity and helping to improve quality of life in the city.

The improvements to the Outdoor Sports Centre were welcomed by the public following a 12-consultation last year with 97% of respondents agreeing that they would like to see improvements at the Outdoor Sports Centre, alongside 85% of respondents saying that their use of the Outdoor Sports Centre would increase if the proposed changes were implemented.  

The Masterplan of Improvements to Southampton’s Outdoor Sports Centre is expected to deliver £98.8 millions of monetised benefits.

Councillor Lorna Fielker, Deputy Leader of Southampton City Council and Cabinet Member for Health, Adults and Leisure and Leisure said:

“I am delighted that Southampton City Council has been successful in its bid for funding to make ambitious improvements to the Outdoor Sports Centre.

“It’s so important to have a sports facility in Southampton that supports target groups and focuses on accessibility and inclusivity in sport which is why winning the Levelling Up Funding was crucial as it will help to dramatically increase opportunities for communities across the city to increase their level of physical activity”.

Unfortunately, the Heart of the City and Riverside Protection bids were unsuccessful. However, the Council will be reviewing options for the remaining projects within Bargate Square, Mayflower Park and City Centre transport improvements on Queensway north and Hanover Square, including alternative funding sources and future bidding opportunities. 

We will also continue to develop the proposed flood defence through the River Itchen Flood Alleviation Scheme. This scheme will support new longer term development opportunities in Northam and alongside the River Itchen, with approximately £34m of funding already secured from Flood Defence Grant in Aid. Additional funding opportunities will be explored to deliver additional improvement to public access to the waterside.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Leader of Southampton City Council, said:

“Winning the bid for inclusive access to sport is great news and a vote of confidence in Southampton’s ambition, capability, and vision. Improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Southampton’s people is a top priority for the council and this project is a cornerstone in achieving this objective. Although the bids for Heart of the City and Drivers Wharf Riverside Protection were unsuccessful, there is much work to be done across those projects as we look to alternative funding arrangements and revised timescales to deliver them”.

Councillor Sarah Bogle, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: 

“We are ambitious for Southampton; the new Renaissance board, which will bring together stakeholders in the city to drive forward key regeneration sites, will also help support our goal for much greater investment in our great city building on the LUF success”.

Images credited to LK2 Architects LTD


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