Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Inquiry Panel - Protecting, Preserving and Promoting The River Itchen in Southampton - Thursday, 16th February, 2023 5.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 3 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Melanie Morley Democratic Services Officer 02380 832198 

Link: Link to Meeting

No. Item


Minutes of the Previous Meeting (including matters arising) pdf icon PDF 304 KB

To approve and sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2023, and to deal with any matters arising, attached.


Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2023 be approved and signed as a correct record.


Protecting, Preserving and Promoting the River Itchen in Southampton - How can more people enjoy the river? pdf icon PDF 309 KB

The Panel is recommended to consider the comments made by the invited guests, and contained within the attached appendices, and use the information provided as evidence in the review.

Additional documents:


The Panel considered the report of the Scrutiny Manager detailing the issues concerning how more people could enjoy the River Itchen in Southampton.


The Panel received the following representations:


Lindsay McCulloch, Natural Environment Manager, Southampton City Council summarised the key issues about public access to the River Itchen in Southampton as:


o  Riverside and recreational access to the River Itchen in Southampton ranges from excellent to non-existent.

o  A notable trend is that river access reduces as you travel closer to the mouth of the estuary due to a combination of physical constraints and the historical economic uses of the river.  Most economic activity has been on the west bank where land is flatter.  This leaves legacy spaces for recreational access.

o  Along the river open spaces occur where land is not suitable, or is no longer suitable, for commercial use.  Large areas of informal green spaces exist above Woodmill that are ideal for walking and cycling.

o  The east bank includes Riverside Park, a parcel of land at Bitterne Manor (the site of Clausentum), Chessel Bay and Peartree Green (that has no direct access to the river but has excellent views).

o  The west bank has very limited open spaces.  Small areas at Janaway Gardens and Pettinger Gardens exist and open space is to be provided at the Meridian Waterside development.

o  There are about 2.5 km of footpath access through Riverside Park on the east bank, however, beyond that the footpaths move away from the river with only 380m of riverside footpath access before reaching Jurd’s Lake at the mouth of the estuary.

o  There are only 940m of waterside footpaths along the west bank of the river.

o  The boardwalk at Bevois Valley demonstrates what can be achieved when stakeholders collaborate.  The RIFAS scheme also offers the potential for additional and enhanced access to the west bank.

o  There is an aspiration to develop additional waterfront access. The draft local plan states that - ‘Waterfront public access to and along the city’s distinctive waterfront will be enhanced wherever possible.’

o  Tools exist to deliver this through planning policy and development control.  There is a balance between economic interests, community aspirations for waterfront access, and reducing the impact on biodiversity and ecology.  If Southampton City Council leaders provide a strong message that waterfront access is a priority it will provide a clearer steer to officers when making decisions.


Graham Linecar, Secretary of Southampton Commons and Parks Protection Society (SCAPPS) summarised the key issues about recreation, community use and access to the River Itchen in Southampton as:



o  The benefit for physical health and mental well-being of being in 'green' surroundings is now widely appreciated and recognised. Such benefit is enhanced when the 'green' is complimented by the 'blue', with green spaces alongside water.

o  The River Itchen is taken for granted but gives Southampton a sense of place and identity.

o  Along the River Itchen more places where people can enjoy being by the river should be found  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.