Controversial plans for a new leisure centre in Amersham are one step closer to going ahead after councillors recommended it for approval.

Chiltern District Council's planning committee last night (June 10) recommended the Chiltern Lifestyle Centre plans go forward for a final decision by the full council on July 23.

The planning decision was previously deferred at a meeting on February 14 when the planning committee demanded a rethink on parking provision, the design of the sports hall, the thermal ratings of the building and the overall impact of the new centre on the local area.

The new plans feature an increase in parking spaces from 221 to 263 and revised plans for minibus and coach parking.

If given the go-ahead, the new Chiltern Lifestyle Centre will feature a 160 station fitness suite with four studios, a spa, an eight-lane, 25 metre swimming pool, a diving/teaching pool, a children's splash pad area, soft play, clip and climb, a four badminton court sports hall, squash courts, a climbing wall, library, café area and community centre.

It will replace the outdated Chiltern Pools in King George V Road.

However, the plans have been met with criticism from campaigners who fear the building is "far too large", branding it a "carbuncle" that will cost "far too much".

Patrick Carroll, who lives on Chiltern Avenue, has previously spoken out against the plans and said he was "very disappointed" that they are now one step closer to reality.

Councillor Mike Stannard, deputy leader and cabinet member for support services said: "The planning committee decision brings us another step closer to making the plans for a new leisure and community centre in Amersham a reality.

"The planning application still needs to be put before full council, and following that the business case will be examined, but this is a positive move forward.

“The planning committee recognised the improvements made to the plans since the last meeting and praised the officers and project team’s efforts to address all their concerns.

“It was heartening to see the support from the public, including the Amersham Swimming Club and Lindfield Nursery who attended the meeting.

"We are confident we can make this happen for all our residents and provide fantastic facilities for future generations to use and enjoy.”