Here's what happened in February 2017:

COUNCIL planners have the green light for Southampton Common’s iconic paddling pool is to be replaced with a £500,000 state-of-the-art play area, writes Lewis Wild. The scheme included a seven-and-a-half metre play tower featuring rope bridges, tunnels and a slide. It would also have five three-metre high climbing trees, a tree high double zip wire, a variety of swings and more play equipment. Southampton Commons and Parks Protection Society raised concerns over a 1.2 metre high steel fence which would surround the play area saying it could “seriously damage” the quality of Coronation Avenue, a stretch of scenic path within the common.

SKATEBOARDERS were turning Southampton’s £50 million Cultural Quarter into the “most expensive skate park in UK”, according to city councillor and Tory group leader Jeremy Moulton, who called for the introduction of fines for skateboarders who refuse to be moved on from the area, which is designed for pedestrians. “It doesn’t create the right image for the area,” he said. “In total, the whole area including the culture quarter cost in excess of £50 million. We need to move them on or this is the most expensive skatepark in the UK.” Residents complained after seeing a skateboarder urinating at the entrance to the Guildhall.

SOUTHAMPTON suffered another blow to its sporting pride as yachting’s global governing body revealed it was moving its headquarters from Town Quay to London. World Sailing, formerly known as the International Sailing Federation, or ISAF, had been based in the city since February 1997. But the directors of the organisation, which runs the world’s major dinghy racing events including the sailing element of the Olympics, voted to leave Southampton in favour of London, saying it was in the “best interests of the organisation and the sport”.

WESTQUAY’S Festival of Light attracted hundreds of people as the display marked the completion of Southampton’s new cinema. Projections, displays and illuminations all featured at the show, which kicked off its opening night to celebrate the finishing touches of the new Showcase cinema. Images were projected on to the city walls at Western Esplanade, telling the story of Southampton, with the show featuring 12,000 LED lights as well as a special Valentine’s Day performance being planned for couples to enjoy.

A HAMPSHIRE councillor told how a devastating blaze tore through his family home. Nick Adams-King, a Conservative who represents Blackwater ward on Test Valley Borough Council, was forced to flee the property with his husband and their children, aged 10 and six. “We got everybody out, including all of the pets, but that was all we could do,” he said. “It’s one of those nightmares you always wonder about. We had the kids in the car and the car away from the house quickly.”

PLANS were revealed for a new festival in Southampton. The inaugural FestivAll would play host some of the biggest names in the music industry including Alesha Dixon and The Hoosiers at Mayflower Park in July. The event was later cancelled amid security fears in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

A DRONE was involved in a near-miss with a passenger plane that was about to land at Southampton Airport. The device was said to have one point flown about 100ft above the Flybe plane that was preparing for landing. The incident came just two months after it was revealed that 59 near-misses involving drones were reported last year.

TENS of thousands of fans spoke of their pride after brave Saints suffered cup final agony. Wembley was turned into a sea of red and white but a goal in the final three minutes sank Claude Puel’s men. Despite losing 3-2 to Manchester United fans remained proud of their team’s battling league cup performance.

PREGNANT teenagers in Hampshire were given shopping vouchers as an incentive to give up smoking. This came under a new scheme which involved meant expectant women under 20 received £20 worth of Love2Shop vouchers each month for the length of their pregnancy. The vouchers could be used in a variety of high street shops, if they ditched tobacco. They were monitored regularly to verify that they were staying off the cigarettes in oder to receive the reward vouchers. However the scheme came under fire from critics who said public money should not be spent in this way.