Plans to halve the size of a popular sports hall are likely to be overturned after a lengthy consultation.

Three Rivers District Council announced today it would not split the hall at the William Penn Leisure Centre - but warned customers it will increase charges in line with other nearby leisure centres.

In July, a motion from the Liberal Democrats saw the council halt its decision to award Everyone Active one side of the hall, which would have been converted to a soft play area, cafe extension and climbing facility.

The council gave itself an extra 12 months to bridge the £100,000 funding gap to retain the sports hall.

Various sports groups including netballers, tennis players, badminton and table-tennis teams campaigned to retain their facility and a consultation was carried out by the council.

Results of these were presented to members of the leisure, environment and community committee on Wednesday. 

As a result, the council and Sports and Leisure Management (SLM) recommended the proposals not go ahead - but that users of the sports hall could see charges increase.

The recommendation to retain the full sports hall will be presented to the policy and resources committee on December 10 before a full council meeting the following day. 

Carolyn Venn, Back to Netball member and campaigner, said: "It’s fantastic news that councillors have listened to residents' views to retain our sports hall, but the increase in user costs is disappointing.

“The leisure management contract shouldn't have included the destruction of our hall, and therefore finding additional funds to overturn the poor decision should not be necessary.

“However, I am hopeful that new revenue will support a full programme of activities for local people of all ages and abilities.”

Council leader Cllr Sara Bedford said: “This is a compromise which will enable the full sports hall to be retained, without placing extra financial burdens onto the council and council taxpayers in general. Many sports hall users have told us that they would be prepared to pay a little more each week to retain the facilities, so we have agreed a plan which will do exactly that.

“As we will not be going ahead with the soft play facilities, we have held the costs of activities for children and young people. The council will be working to introduce and support a wide range of activities across the district with the aim of reducing health inequalities and improving the health and happiness of residents.”

Cllr Sara Bedford, leader and Cllr Chris Lloyd, lead member for leisure with members of the SLM team at William Penn