A SIX-LANE swimming pool, an all-weather pitch and a climbing wall have been some of the most popular bits in plans for a new £18.8m leisure centre.

Residents of Wantage, Grove and surrounding villages got their first look at the new plans at an exhibition at the town's current leisure centre on Thursday.

Vale of White Horse District Council is planning to build the new centre next to Wantage Health Centre on Mably Way, Grove, by 2020.

Mayor of Wantage Steve Trinder, who was among those at the event, said: "I thought it looked really good, especially this 25m, six-lane pool.

"It seemed to be really well thought-through: it's got toilets for people who are less able and a special device for lowering wheelchair users into the pool.

"I also like the climbing wall."

Mr Trinder said he had raised concerns with project officers about the absence of a squash court from the new centre plan, but said he was reassured that the existing courts at the current Wantage Leisure Centre on Portway were to be revamped in due course.

Keen cricketer Luke Cheshire, 18, who attended the exhibition, said he was 'pleased the town would be getting more leisure facilities'.

Grove Parish Council member Jean Nunn-Price said she was glad to see the plans overall but raised concerns about access onto the site.

She said: "There are aspects that need to be looked at, like how will people get there without cars.

"The traffic engineers have also got to balance safety and traffic flow problems around access off Mably Way.

"Some of us think that junction should be left-turn-only to make is safer."

Wantage town councillor Andrew Crawford also said he welcomed the new centre plans, saying it had been 'a long time coming'.

However he asked why, if the district council was putting up money up-front for the centre, it was not also putting more money up for new roads in the area.

The Vale's Conservative leader Matthew Barber pledged to invest the funding in the local authority’s latest budget.

Most of the cash is expected to come out of loans which the council will repay with contributions from housing developers building in the town.

Mr Barber said the new leisure centre would be ‘modern and up-to-date’, but he said that while his leisure team were still designing the facility it was too early to say ‘exactly how many tennis or badminton courts’ it would have.

A second exhibition and consultation event will be held at Grove's Old Mill Hall on School Lane on Thursday, September 21, from 3pm to 8pm.