THE PROPOSAL to build Bromsgrove a new leisure centre looks set to be given the go ahead on Monday (December 7).
The application, which will go before the district council’s planning committee, is to replace the current Dolphin Centre with a £13million sports and leisure centre featuring main and learner pools, fitness suite, dance and group cycling studios, spa facilities, treatment rooms, sauna-steam room, climbing wall, cafe, wet and dry changing areas, car park, electric car charging points and secure cycle parking.
The proposal has courted controversy as the current sports hall, which will be bulldozed as part of the development, will not be replaced in the new building as the council claims it would cost another £1.5million.
And, officers say, it would also occupy land which otherwise has potential to fetch a market value of £1.8million.
According to Sport England, a new sports hall would use 1087m2 of space on the site.
That figure, officers say, would reduce the land mass ‘available for disposal’ and lead to a loss of over £271,000.
The proposal states this would reduce the budget – without the £1.5million it expects from ‘external funding’ – to £11,288,250.
It states while demolition of the existing sports hall would impact regular users, there was a ‘high number’ of similar facilities in Bromsgrove to cater for users during peak-time (evening and weekend) hours.
As a result, the review has advised the local authority work with schools and ‘other providers’ in order to relocate activities at the current sports hall.
It also emphasised the importance of ‘pay and play badminton courts.’
The proposal has recommended The Ryland Centre, however objections to the new leisure centre proposal claim it would be ‘unsuitable for serious play.’
Following talks with BAM Facilities Management (BAMFM), the sports hall at North Bromsgrove High School has been mooted as a substitute for the loss of the sports hall, however residents’ objections in the proposal declare the school’s hall was not available during off-peak (school time) hours.
They also say while its sports hall – which is much smaller than the current one – lacks the capacity to cater for residents and is already committed to other uses during peak hours on evenings and weekends.
As a result, alternative options to the current sports hall such as North Bromsgrove have been labelled ‘unclear.’
Objectors feel the demolition of the sports hall is not necessary and will result in the loss of a valuable community asset, affecting the ‘health and well-being of many residents.’