RESIDENTS have had their first chance to say what they want to see in a new multi-million pound leisure centre.

The first of a series of exhibitions on plans for the redevelopment of Fleming Park Leisure Centre got under way yesterday with further sessions planned for later this week.

Although Eastleigh Borough Council has tested its ideas for a new £15 million facility already on a number of clubs and groups this was the first time the general public has had its say.

A crowd gathered at the current leisure centre in Passfield Avenue to hear more from staff about the project, which would see the building demolished and a new state-of-the-art centre built close by. Plans include a larger main pool with eight lanes instead of six, a larger learner pool with an adjustable depth, expanded gym facilities and a new bistro restaurant.

Andy Milner, interim project manager for Eastleigh Borough Council, told the Daily Echo that initial plans for extensive health and beauty therapies might now be in doubt due to costs.

He showed residents options for where the centre could go but said the main building would most likely be built to the south further along Passfield Avenue where there are currently five-a-side pitches.

Facilities should continue uninterrupted until the new centre opens in 2016 to coincide with the Rio Olympics in Brazil.

The display indicated that to upgrade the current building would have cost an estimated £7 million.

Suggestions included bringing the sauna and swimming pool closer together, a permanent gymnastics facility, an ice rink, which was ruled out, and new gym equipment.

Mr Milner said with the project going out to tender at the moment this was an ideal opportunity for people to get their views counted before any designs were done, though there would be further consultation in 2015.

“We haven’t made any decisions – this is what this talking is all about,” he said.

Rick Mitchell, 69, from Chandler’s Ford, was among a number of people concerned for the future of over- 50s indoor tennis, raising concerns that plans did not appear to include indoor tennis courts.

But Mr Milner said nothing had been decided on yet and said it could be possible to have a dome over the outdoor courts or put special carpet down.

Further exhibitions are being held at Velmore Community Centre in Falkland Road today from 3pm to 7pm and the Pavilion on the Park in Kingfisher Road on Thursday from 3pm to 7pm.