The £16.85M future vision for the Outdoor Sports Centre
Check out our recent video on the proposals within our Draft Masterplan of Improvements for Southampton’s main venue for outdoor sports.
Draft Masterplan of Improvements – Public consultation
This consultation is now closed.
From 6 August – 31 October 2021, we conducted a public consultation on the Draft Masterplan of Improvements for the Outdoor Sports Centre.
The public consultation was to gather feedback on proposed improvements which have been designed in line with previous consultation responses.
Improvements proposed in the draft masterplan include:
- New ‘hub’ offering changing facilities, gym, café and more
- New covered tennis and netball courts
- Improvements for an integrated cycling offer
- New artificial grass football pitches
- Improvements to the hockey pitches
- Improvements to the snow sports centre including a new ski lodge
- Transformational use of the north of the site with a new ‘family zone’ providing an outdoor gym, skatepark, children’s play area and more
- New enlarged grandstand and clubhouse for events and officials at the athletics track
- Improvements to cricket pitches
- Additional on-site car parking
The Draft Masterplan of Improvements also proposes other enhancements to paths, seating, lighting and environmental features across the entire site.
Feedback and suggestions will now be reviewed and considered before any decisions are taken in relation to the Draft Masterplan of Improvements for Southampton’s Outdoor Sports Centre.
Following the analysis of consultation responses, a planning application is expected to be submitted in spring 2022 with the start of works commencing spring/summer 2022.
The completion of the entire approved scheme is anticipated in 2024.
Brief history of the Outdoor Sports Centre SHOW
Southampton’s Outdoor Sports Centre first opened in 1938 with a far-sighted objective to “promote health to untold numbers and prove to be one of the outstanding assets of a town”.
After World War II broke out in September 1939, the Outdoor Sports Centre was used for military occupation and as a temporary base ahead of D-Day. During the war, the Outdoor Sports Centre was also the location of a great open-air service of prayer and intercession as well as providing a military store for food and vegetables. With the end of the War and Victory in Europe celebrations, it is said that ‘the Outdoor Sports Centre could justifiably claim to have affected, in a small way, the great military events of the Second World War.’
The 150-acre Outdoor Sports Centre is often described as a “green lung” in the West of the city and attracts a variety of sports clubs and recreational users ranging from dog walkers to informal joggers.
Engagement/consultation to date SHOW
Since the Outdoor Sports Centre opened in 1938, a number of changes, improvements and modifications have been made. We recognised that there was considerable interest in establishing a future vision for the Outdoor Sports Centre by developing key areas for improvement to enhance its offer for both competitive sports and leisure users. Over recent years, a number of community engagement activities have taken place to inform a draft masterplan of improvements that have directed us to where we are now.
In November 2013, a series of ten drop-in sessions were held at a range of community venues with the aim of engaging local people and sports clubs to identify what they liked and disliked about the Outdoor Sports Centre. This engagement provided valuable feedback where key themes and ideas came to light. This included:
- Development of Club Hub and Sports facilities to include: changing and toilet provision, meeting rooms, Café/refreshment provision, indoor sports provision
- Creation of Physical Activity Opportunities to include: Marked running/jogging route, cycling circuit, outdoor gym
- Infrastructure Improvements: increase and improve car park provision, improve lighting on access routes or footpaths within the site
- Open Space: develop the existing woodland walks, consider options for dog walking areas and other recreational activities
Following this, we developed a draft improvement plan which covered key topics including car parking, recreational activities, sports facilities, and the ski centre.
In 2015, this improvement plan along with a proposed vision for the Outdoor Sports Centre went through a 12-week public consultation where local residents, sports clubs and organisations, Friends of Southampton Sports Centre (FOSSC) and a wider audience could review and comment on the proposals. With over 1,200 responses, 89% of respondents agreed with the suggested priority areas for improvement which were listed as: Development of Hub(s), Sports facilities, Creation of physical activity opportunities, Infrastructure improvement, with a large majority, who currently use the Outdoor Sports Centre once a month or less, stating that they would use the facility more if improvements were made.
The next milestone in the project was the appointment of ‘Places for People’ in 2016 who carried out further work to take the project forward by refining the proposals in line with the consultation responses and developing a viable plan.
In 2017, we expanded our feasibility work to include all elements of the scheme including a detailed evaluation of the football elements and a new ‘Club Hub’. This work generated a list of recommendations which were then incorporated into the improvement plan to form the draft masterplan of improvements.
With the initial improvement plan developing into a masterplan for the whole site, we undertook a review in 2018 to identify whether there was a need for further public consultation. It was concluded that a final public consultation on the draft masterplan of improvements would be conducted to ensure the proposals satisfy public need and support.
Forming the Draft Masterplan of Improvements SHOW
Feedback from the earlier engagement and consultation informed a draft improvement plan which was reviewed and commented on by over 1,200 people in 2015, 89% of whom agreed with the suggested priority areas for improvement. Since then, the council has been working with partners to develop the final draft masterplan of improvements which has been allocated £16.85 million of capital funding in the SCC capital programme.
Following the review in 2018, possible funding partners have been explored to bring together the draft masterplan of improvements to the public with confidence that the scheme is viable and has support from national governing bodies of sport.