Multi-million-pound plans to transform Southampton Outdoor Sports Centre are one step closer to being given the green light.

The major £20m renovation scheme by Southampton City Council will go ahead - if flood and drainage mitigation can be agreed by the council and the Environment Agency.

The plans will see a new ski lodge, community hub, three floodlit astroturf pitches, cycle track, athletics clubhouse and many other features.

Supporters of the scheme say it is ‘long overdue’ and would turn the centre into a ‘great asset for the city’.

However, objectors expressed concerns over plans for a car park as part of the scheme outweighed the value of one of five cricket pitches which will be lost as a result.

The council’s planning panel heard from objector Simon Renyard from the City of Southampton Society who was among those expressing concerns about the lost pitch.

Daily Echo:

He said: “We understand that this pitch has the best service of the current pitches and is the favourite for teams using the existing facilities.

“We are concerned about the loss of any cricket pitches at a time when the sport is going through a revival.”

Cricket coach Richard Bloom backs the renovation but said: "It doesn’t have to be at the expense of cricket."

He added: “It is the largest and best at the sports centre.”

Planning officers said data showed the cricket pitch in question was the least usedat the centre although this was disputed by the objectors at the meeting.

The planning panel heard that replacing the cricket pitch will allow more people to park their cars at the centre and not have to clog up neighbouring roads such as Hill Lane.

Other objections, including one from the city council’s own strategic planning team, was about the loss of open space and the felling of 64 trees.

Planning officers told the panel the loss of open space and its impact on health and wellbeing will be outweighed by the projected increase in people using the centre.

Officers have also said that five trees will be planted for every single tree cut down.

The panel also heard the plan had support. One keen supporter of the plans was Chris Granger, secretary of Hampshire Netball Association, who said the Outdoor Sports Centre is ‘totally unused to the potential it has’ adding ‘it has such potential for all sports’.

The site currently has ten netball pitches, but when the plans come to fruition, three of these will be housed inside a new ‘hub’ that will be built.

Ms Granger said that increasing the car park capacity will ‘increase participation for all sports’.

Other comments in support from both planners and visitors included that the plans would ‘increase usage’ of the centre, improvements are ‘desperately needed’ and it will help the site ‘fulfil its potential’.

Councillors voted to delegate signing off on the plans to the head of transport and planning after flood and drainage mitigation measures have been agreed.