By Geoff Berkeley Friday 25 January 2013 Updated: 30/01 17:32
PLANS to build a new £13million swimming pool in Worcester have cleared their first major hurdle after city planners gave the scheme their overwhelming support.
Proposals to create a 25-metre pool and leisure centre on Bilford Road secured outline planning permission at a meeting of Worcester City Council's planning committee on Thursday (January 24).
Councillors unanimously backed the development which would provide an eight lane swimming pool and a learner pool as well as a café, soft play area and crèche.
The leisure centre, which would be built next to the existing Perdiswell site, would also include a gym, spinning studios, dry changing rooms and a spectator area for the main swimming pool.
However, there were concerns from some councillors over whether the 415-space car park included in the plans would be big enough.
Coun Alan Amos (Lab/Warndon) said: "I am concerned we are not being realistic when it comes to parking. We want it to be used and make money, but if people are going to go there and there is nowhere to park then they are not going to use it."
Coun Aubrey Tarbuck (Cons/St Peter's) added: "We don’t want to lose customers for the want of car parking. We need to make this a viable proposition."
But Bob Pender, from the county council's highways authority, assured councillors that his officers had been "very generous" when it came to providing on-site parking.
Paul O'Connor, head of planning at the city council, said they would look at finding an alternative location for the children's play area after Coun Lynn Denham (Lab/Cathedral) spoke out against its new position in the plans.
"What we have at the moment is a lovely playground in a green space with a big open park," she said.
"But in this proposal, it is stuck between a car park and a building. How is that a good idea?"
The existing Perdiswell Leisure Centre would be demolished once the new development is completed.
Councillors have yet to decide how the project will be funded but it will be discussed at a full council meeting on March 26.
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