POOLE council will soon be inviting bids from potential concessionaires to develop Whitecliff Pavilion.

The borough secured planning permission to revamp the facility at Whitecliff Recreation Ground in October. A tender exercise to find a commercial partner to take the plans forward is set to take place later in the summer or autumn.

The new pavilion will feature a cafe, public toilets, and a football-focussed indoor facility for community groups and sports clubs. The council says it is considering offering a long lease to the concessionaire, who will take on future responsibility and maintenance of the pavilion.

The freehold for the land would be retained by the council.

A 'disposal of open space' notice has been given, and members of the public are able to make objections to the notice if they have reasons why the council should not grant a long lease.

Once a partner is found, detailed plans will be drawn up over autumn and winter, with construction of the new pavilion scheduled to take place in the spring.

Detailed designs will require separate planning permission and will, the borough says, include input from park users.

In a previous report, case officer Eleanor Godesar said the main issues to be considered were the impact on the setting and character of the site and residential amenities, and future flooding.

Concerns have already been raised about the proposed facility being unsympathetic and out of keeping with the area and bringing increased noise and traffic, with no car parking provided for staff or users.

“Representations have raised concern about the commercial element of the football facility. However, cafés and other ‘pay and play’ leisure facilities are typically already present in Poole’s principal parks and form an important component of their recreational role,” she said.

“The principle of replacing the existing building with a two-storey building with leisure and café uses is acceptable.”

Details of the proposals, including the layout of the changing rooms, toilets and café, materials, cycle parking, and flood mitigation measures, will be considered at a reserved matters stage.