The Friends of Southampton Sports Centre - community action to protect , improve and promote
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About Us

The Friends of Southampton Sports Centre (FoSSC for short) is a new, community-based resident action group formed of City residents who care about the Sports Centre; its past, present and future.

FoSSC’s aim is to enhance the sports and recreation facilities and visitor offer at Southampton Sports Centre and secure its long term future and development

In 2012-2013, the Environment Agency (EA) was conducting flood alleviation works on the Gold Course. This involved excavating and moving thousands of tons of clay and because of the very wet weather, the clay was too waterlogged to re-use on site. It was temporarily placed into the drained boating lake on the Sports Centre. The EA then submitted a planning application which they claimed was supported by both Council and Active Nation which sought to permanently leave the spoil in the lake to “create a wild flower meadow”. This application was poorly advertised, submitted with minimal consultation and seemed to residents to be both poorly conceived and inappropriate, resulting in widespread public opposition.

FoSSC was created at public meeting organised by Old Bassett Residents Association (OBRA) to assess public reaction to the planning application and, as a result of the obvious strong opposition, to coordinate that opposition by publicising the application and developing a strategy to formally oppose it through the planning system. The application was referred to Council’s Planning and Rights of Way Panel, where both FoSSC and Southampton Common and Parks Preservation Society (SCAPPS) presented residents’ opposition. Panel deliberated and voted to refuse the application (6 against, with the Chair abstaining). The Environment Agency has now pledged to remove the spoil and make good damage which they caused to the boating lake bed - works scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.

(1)  We have become formally established as a Council-recognised “Friends” group, which will give us a formal role and say in the Sports Centre’s future.

(2) We have agreed with Council a wide range of projects and activities that organised FoSSC work parties can undertake on the Sports Centre to help maintain and facilities and improve the site’s appearance.

(3) In partnership with Council and Active Nation, we are working on a Sports Centre Improvement Plan for the whole Sports Centre (More….)

(4) Having secured the short term safety of the boating lake site and prevented its loss for potential sporting or recreational use, one of FoSSC’s challenges is now to identify an affordable, sustainable and widely popular use for the site, and to work with Southampton City Council and Active Nation (who run the Sports Centre for the Council) to make it happen. This will be a long term project - the site is large and any worthwhile scheme will be expensive. We are investigating the practicality and desirability of various alternative schemes for the development of the boating lake site - your input and suggestions are welcome.

More information on the Environment Agency’s original planning Application:

Full planning application information (case reference 13/00556/FUL) on Southampton City Council’s Planning Portal

Case Officer’s Report to Planning Panel (pdf)

Decision notice from Planning Panel (pdf)

Open letter from Environment Agency to Local Residents following refusal of their planning Application informing of timescale for removing clay from boating lake and making good the damage done (png image)


FoSSC’s logo: a stylised plan of the Sports Centre