MUSICIAN Frank Turner has branded plans to build on a Hampshire recreation ground “utterly ridiculous”.

The punk folk singer spoke out while a special guest at an event staged by campaigners trying to stop the development of North Walls Park in Winchester.

He told the Daily Echo: “I grew up in Winchester and grew up coming to this rec, so today is very important. It is utterly ridiculous that Winchester City Council is considering building on this.”

Daily Echo:

Mr Turner, who played at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, had been invited to judge a dog parade at the Save the Rec event attended by an estimated 2,500 people.

More than 130 canines were entered into the competition.

Mr Turner, who admitted to being quite nervous, said: “I don’t want anyone to be annoyed about this. This is harder than I imagined it would be.”

Wearing dark glasses and a T-shirt of Black Flag, a 1980s American hardcore punk band, he awarded prizes for the dog with the waggiest tail, the best behaved dog, the naughtiest dog and the dog most like its owner.

He then went on to play a sell-out gig at the Railway Inn at Winchester last night.

Save the Rec organiser Mike Caldwell was delighted with how the event had gone.

He said: “It was a fantastic turn-out. Frank Turner was a real star, a charming man. It has been a great day.”

Campaigners want the city council to reconsider plans to build a new leisure centre on part of the park.

The council is considering plans to replace the existing River Park leisure centre because the current building is 40 years old and deteriorating fast.