The Issue

Winchester City Council has taken a decision to dispose of a large section (around 17%) of North Walls Recreation Ground, or River Park, to the University of Southampton, without any public consultation and – we say – unlawfully. Winchester City Council does not own this land, but merely acts as a trustee for the residents of Winchester. If the disposal is successful, this will deny the people of Winchester rights over the land which has been publicly owned and protected for the public’s recreational use since 1902. 

The area of the old River Park Leisure Centre, plus the Indoor Bowls Club and Skate Park, the car park and the surrounding green area, has been, and remains, designated as open space with public access. If the land is sold to the University, as is proposed, public access will be lost for at least 35 years and we lose all control over what may be developed. Removing the statutory protection, and the covenant, endangers the whole of the Recreation Ground. 

The land should remain in public ownership for public recreation


How you can help

Fund raising

Give to our Action Fund. You can contribute on our JustGiving page. We have already caused the Council to backtrack on their original, unlawful decision. They then made the same decision again, which means that the RPLC site will be lost for good, depriving us of the opportunity to create something wonderful for people to enjoy – a place to play. We have applied for a Judicial Review of the Council’s decision but we need funding to see this legal challenge through – hopefully to a successful conclusion. Thank you to all who have donated so far both for their donations and their kind messages of support.

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