TORY council leaders last night moved to allay fears Southampton’s parks were being put up for sale.

Adverts in today’s Daily Echo show the city council is intending to “dispose of a leasehold interest”in a dozen open spaces across the city.

They include Mayfield Park, Riverside Park, Green Park, Hoglands Parks, the Veracity, Lordshill and Millbrook recreation grounds, and the paddling pool at the Common.

Leases in land at the Apline Centre, the municipal golf course, Southampton Sports Centre, and Chamberlayne Leisure Centre are also earmarked for disposal.

Members of the public are being invited to inspect the site plans at the Civic Centre and warned any objections must be lodged, in writing, by January 7.

But the city’s Cabinet member for leisure and culture councillor John Hannides insisted there was no secret plan hatched to sell off the city’s green spaces. He said rather the notices related to a “whole series of decisions”, already taken in public, about the future use of each parcel of land.

The council had decided to publish them together to be “economical”.

Leases in the sites, largely sports pitches and land around leisure centres, will form part of a controversial deal to hand the management of the council’s leisure facilities to a private operator.

He said: “It’s not about the parks being sold. It’s a matter that’s never been given any consideration.”

All the public notices state that “it is intended that the land shall be used as per the existing uses.”

■ To see the notices see page 30 of today's Daily Echo