Extensive consultation in 2000, showed that most people wanted better sports facilities with a new-build replacement for the aging Mayflower Centre but having better park facilities too and not losing green space to development. These aspirations were distilled into the 2001 Central Park Action Plan which highlighted three specific elements:
- – A new sports centre between the swimming pool and the bowling greens to replace the Mayflower Centre.
- – A new Home Park football stadium for about 18,000 spectators.
- – Improvements to the quality of the green spaces.
Controversially, the plan included a commercial leisure development, possibly incorporating a multi-screen cinema, family entertainment centre, health and fitness centre, restaurant and other facilities in order to contribute to funding the development.
There was also no denying that development would have spread to the centre of the park with loss of green space, and the plan met with strong opposition.
In 2002, the Save Central Park Committee handed a petition to the Leisure Portfolio holder calling on the park to be transferred to charitable trust. Although this did not happen, the campaign resulted in the 2001 Action Plan being dropped and a new round of consultation starting in 2006 which eventually led to the Life Centre opening in 2012.