Leisure centre report received

Consultants for the City Council have provided a report on the replacement of leisure centre provision in Winchester.

The report was commissioned from Continuum in January to help the Council come to a decision on future leisure needs.

The report examines in detail the local market, changes in population and participation, the plans and aspirations of sports clubs and the type of leisure centre best suited to address these. It provides indicative costs which take account of the borrowing that the Council would have to do to finance construction. It was not part of the consultants’ brief to make a judgement as to whether the Council should provide a new centre or refurbish the existing building.

The report is available to view on the City Council’s website www.winchester.gov.uk/sports/ 

Cllr Keith Wood, the Leader of Winchester City Council, said:

Our prime aim is to ensure that leisure centre facilities will continue to be provided for our residents – there are currently over 500,000 visits to the centre annually.

The report gives us some valuable information as to what can be provided and the costs of delivery.

The next stage will be for us to look at the costs and benefits of the different options, including refurbishment of the existing centre, in the light of the many competing service pressures on our budgets. I want to move quickly to a clear decision and hope to indicate how we propose to proceed in July.

Various options for a new-build leisure centre were considered by the consultants with different sizes of swimming pool and combinations of gymnastics facilities, tennis courts and health and fitness suites. Continuum estimate that costs could range from £25m to £30m.

None of the options is linked to any specific site but at present there seem to be only two options for a new centre: North Walls Recreation Ground or Bar End.

The refurbishment of the existing River Park Leisure Centre remains an option with costs ranging up to £8m for improved facilities and all necessary repairs on the existing building. Essential repairs only to the roof and plant at the existing site have been estimated at close to £3m.