New leisure centre set for Bingham
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s cabinet has passed a motion to explore plans to build a new leisure centre in Bingham.
It approved detailed investigations to look into the feasibility of constructing a new leisure centre at Chapel Lane.
The land is owned by the council and is the site Tesco had planned to build a supermarket on.
Rushcliffe sees the new leisure in the context of a wider commercial development of the site.
The move follows a recent detailed study that explored options to develop a new leisure centre on the existing Toot Hill school site.
Due to the technical and operational difficulties and costs associated with each of the potential locations at the school, the council has decided to explore whether better value could be achieved through an integrated leisure and commercial development of a site adjacent to Chapel Lane, north of the town’s railway line.
This could align with the wider ongoing Bingham master-planning process and future housing development in that area.
If the study suggests the new centre is feasible it could see the creation of a new centre including a community hall, swimming pool, fitness gym, exercise studios, two sets of changing rooms and office space.
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Debbie Mason said: “We want a high quality leisure centre and community facility for residents in Bingham for Rushcliffe residents that will support healthy lifestyles and complement the growth of the town in the years to come.
“The cost of building a new leisure centre is significant so we are undertaking a further study to give careful consideration not only to ensure the location of the site is correct in the wider plans for the town, but also in the long term so the site can give us the sufficient financial return to make it viable.
“Given the planned housing growth within the town, we wish to explore using Council owned land to deliver this potentially exciting project and we should have results of the feasibility study in 2019.”
It is hoped the new facility will have several upgrades to what’s already available at the current centre, including a five-court sport hall, a six-lane 25m swimming pool with teaching pool and two rows of spectator seating, and a 75-station health and fitness area.
As the scheme is still in the development phase, a cost hasn’t yet been confirmed by the council, however the top-end of the estimate is between £20.5m to £21.4m depending on the location, increasing by around £1.9m when inflation is accounted for.
This means the total cost of the scheme could be as much as £23.3m.
This would be funded by a loan from the Government, at a relatively-low interest rate, paid back over 40 years.
However, the council said in the long term, a new leisure centre is likely to save money.
A council report said: “A condition survey conducted in 2016 estimated that simply to retain a safe and functioning leisure centre – without noticeable improvements – will require works to the value of £1.6m within the next 10 to 15 years, £500,000 of which will be required within five years.
“Even with ongoing investment, the existing leisure centre is not likely to achieve the same level of revenue as a new build option.”
This means the council would make more money from the new leisure centre, and would not have to pay hefty bills to maintain the old building.
Francis Purdue-Horan represents the Bingham West Ward for the Conservatives.
He said: “I’m very much in favour of what’s being proposed. It will be quite an asset for the area.
“The existing leisure centre has been there since 1969 so it’s way past its original life expectancy.
“The decades-old question of where to put a community hall could even be solved, and that would be a huge boost.”
George Davidson, an Independent councillor for the Bingham East Ward, said: “It’s definitely worth progressing with. One of the problems with the new 1,000 houses in the so-called Bingham North was always going to be how to join it together with the existing town of Bingham
“Having a community hub on land that’s owned by the council has something got something going for it in terms of being able to bring together the existing town with the new development.”