Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre could move to new Western Way site
PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:00 23 October 2018
Plans for a "nationally groundbreaking" multi-million pound development in Bury St Edmunds which could see health, leisure, and education services brought together on one site have been revealed.
An outline business case has been drawn up for the proposed development at Western Way, with cost estimates of the scheme around the £100 to £125million mark.
The current Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre and swimming pool, in Beetons Way, could also be moved within the site to integrate with health services.
The outline case suggests that the steel frame of the depot on Olding Road is re-used for the new public service building – which will link to West Suffolk House.
The council says the plans would give the opportunity for “radical regeneration” and produce better outcomes for residents.
Members of St Edmundsbury Borough Council are set to discuss whether a detailed business case should be worked up for the scheme at a meeting on October 30.
John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to deliver services in a much more joined up way while regenerating this area of Bury St Edmunds to improve the health, education and prosperity of our residents.
“This would be nationally ground breaking and bring public and private partners together. Evidence shows where you put education, health, leisure and other public services together they achieve more than the sum of their parts.
“It is much more than bricks and mortar and where people sit. It is how we work together and make it much easier for people to access services.
“Partners have already indicated their willingness to be part of these plans and help progress them, with health colleagues in particular already indicating they would like to move.
“We already work closely with partners in West Suffolk House, sharing offices and expertise, and this is the logical next step.”
The report says the proposals should only go ahead if that final business case shows that there is a workable highways plan, the finances stack up and the project at least breaks even for the council as developer.
The council says it will also look at external funding and other sources of finance if it is agreed that more detailed plans are produced.
The report also says that doing nothing is not an option on the site as the leisure centre needs refurbishment and the depot buildings will become empty.
Mr Griffiths added: ““This has been a long term ambition and part of the master plan for the site.
“It is obvious that doing nothing is not an option and we have the opportunity to not only transform local services but invest in new and improved leisure facilities for the community.
“This is just the start of the process and if the council agrees more detailed work will need to be done before any final plans are agreed.”
The new site would create opportunities for multiple other partners to join the councils and West Suffolk CCG at the site, in the first or later phases.
To date, work on exploring the business case has involved all parts of the NHS, Suffolk police, Abbeycroft Leisure, West Suffolk College, the CAB and several other partners under the auspices of the Government’s One Public Estate Programme.
The partners who will be part of the first phase of development will be clarified before the final business case in 2019.