March 11 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Nearly £1million has been earmarked by council chiefs for improvements to leisure buildings over the next four years as they embark on a project to revamp an area’s facilities.
Suffolk Coastal council is undertaking a detailed 10-year leisure strategy review and also looking to appoint a leisure development partner to help bring in major funding to modernise its leisure facilities and provide new attractions to keep the area’s population fit and healthy.
The council says initial analysis of the existing facilities, taking account of their age and condition, has made it clear investment of about £5.5m will be needed in coming years.
No decisions have been taken yet but there has been speculation that major changes could be on the cards.
One project which has been suggested is the demolition of both Felixstowe’s seafront leisure centre and Brackenbury Sports Centre – the site of which would be sold for housing to generate funds for leisure – with the construction of a new modern centre.
The speed with which the leisure strategy review can be completed is making it difficult for the council to budget fully at this stage as no timescale is known for any new future provision.
However, cabinet is being recommended on Tuesday to agree the inclusion of £996,000 over the next four years as the project progresses.
Councillor Robert Whiting, cabinet member for resources, said the money “predominantly provides capital expenditure for the improvement and enhancement of the council’s leisure and public facilities”.
He said: “The expenditure on these assets ensures their viability and that they remain fit for purpose.
“A review of the council’s leisure services is currently being carried out.
“Any changes to the programme resulting from this review will be presented to a future meeting of the cabinet at a later date.”
The large investments needed will mean having to consider a range of funding initiatives, which is why a partner who can offer expertise in leisure design, build and funding solutions and has a proven track record in successful delivery will be essential.
The council has already consulted Sport England about its plans, which bosses say are in line with “best practice”.