THE deputy leader of Winchester City Council has rejected calls for the creation of an independent body to examine proposals for a new leisure centre.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Hutchison led calls for council chiefs to establish a scrutiny group, following widespread criticism of the Cabinet’s handling of the public consultation.

But deputy leader, Councillor Rob Humby said: “That (scrutiny) will happen through Cabinet and through council.”

Civic chiefs indicated last September that they favoured a new centre north of the current River Park site, which would involve the loss of some parkland, but the recent public consultation showed many residents snubbed the proposal.

Of 876 comments received, 281 favoured a new facility at Bar End, with only around half as many (147) siding with planning consultants’ preferred option at North Walls.