Leisure plan is step closer

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AN AMBITIOUS plan to build a multi-million pound leisure centre in Belper moved a step closer this week as a formal planning application was submitted.

In a survey last year, residents were asked to choose between two options for a proposed new leisure facility in the town.

One majored on swimming and the other featured sports hall facilities. The public opted for the Green option, which proposed a swimming pool with no sports hall facilities. Feedback following consultation prompted some changes to the plans, which will now include a sports hall to complement the 25-metre, six-lane swimming pool, as well as a 13-metre by 17-metre training pool. Amber Valley Borough Council is behind the scheme and is set to now carry out a detailed report on exactly where money to pay for the project will come from.

If approved by its own planners, and subject to securing funding, the proposal for land at Field Lane would also include a health suite with a range of health and beauty services, an air-conditioned exercise studio and a 400sq metre 70-station fitness suite on two floors.

Discussions are also ongoing with Belper Leisure Centre Limited, which is not affected by the scheme, about the mix of sports hall facilities at its current site in John O’Gaunt’s Way.

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This is to see how the two centres would be able to work together to provide complementary leisure services to people across Belper.

At the new site on council-owned land next to Field Lane car park in Belper town centre there would also be improved changing facilities for people with disabilities and a training pool suitable for parent and children sessions, learn to swim schemes and rehabilitation and health improvement programmes are also proposed for the site. The training pool would also be equipped with a movable floor, which would make it ideal for a wide range of ages, and abilities and which would be suitable for pursuits such as synchronised swimming and water polo.

A small number of car parking spaces, may be lost as part of the proposed facility if it is approved.

Cllr Liz Bowley, chairman of the council’s leisure centres decisions’ panel said: “This is the next phase of the feasibility process, which will be followed by detailed work to determine potential sources of funding and the affordability of the proposed facility. We were determined to make sure that the facility mix is right following feedback that a sports hall was important to encourage community use of the facilities and provide the public with a variety of leisure based services in the town.”

Leeds-based developers Landmark Cannon LLP have submitted revised plans for the new site. The plans can be viewed on our web site www.ambervalley.gov.uk.

The plan is set to go before the council’s planning board for consideration.

What do you think? Let us know your views on the plan at news@rhnews.co.uk or write to us at the address on p6.