Plans for £8m Kirkby leisure centre complete with adventure playground and climbing wall unveiled

Councillors need to decide whether the re-vamped leisure centre will be developed at Festival Hall or Ashfield Health and Wellbeing.
Councillors need to decide whether the re-vamped leisure centre will be developed at Festival Hall or Ashfield Health and Wellbeing.
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Kirkby has been earmarked for a £8 million new leisure centre as part of an ambitious project to “transform” leisure provision in the district.

Ashfield District Council is set to rubber-stamp the proposed facility, which will house an indoor adventure playground, six court sports hall and gym, at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday (June 22).

If approved, the next stage will see councillors decide whether the “cutting edge” leisure destination will be based on the site of Kirkby’s existing leisure centre, Festival Hall, or Ashfield Health and Wellbeing on Portland Street.

A leisure review found Festival Hall, which was built in the 1930s, to be “very dated” with its three court sports hall “not fit for purpose from a modern sport’s perspective”.

Depending on which site gets the green light, the cost to the Council would vary- £8,178,000 for Festival Hall and £8,058,000 for Ashfield Health and Wellbeing.

Councillors say a public consultation undertaken last year found residents showed “strong support” for focusing resources on the district’s larger leisure facilities like Festival Hall, along with Lammas Leisure Centre in Sutton and Hucknall Leisure Centre.

The consultation also revealed residents would support a leisure centre that would double up as an events space for conferences and award ceremonies, attracting entertainment to the town.

Councillor Amanda Brown, portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing, thinks the “exciting” scheme could be the boost Kirkby town centre needs.

She added: “Along with Lammas and Hucknall leisure centres, Ashfield will be leading the way in the variety and quality of facilities it provides to its residents.”

A feasibility study estimates that the leisure centre would deliver “improved financial, social economic and health outcomes” for Kirkby, reeling in as much as £16.7m into the local economy.

Subject to external funding being secured, the delivery of the project would start towards the end of 2018 and into 2019.

PROPOSALS INCLUDE:

Six court sports hall for sporting activities and events- will accommodate up to 600 people

Indoor Adventure climbing wall

Health and fitness gym with functional training and free weights

Multi-activity & Group cycling studios

Indoor Adventure soft play area

Health and Wellbeing suite

Cafe and reception area

Changing rooms

Cheryl Butler, leader of Ashfield District Council, said: “The Council is seeking to achieve a ‘win win’ outcome which will see a new leisure centre that supports not only health and wellbeing but also very welcome town centre regeneration.

“To achieve this and reduce the Council’s annual revenue cost for our leisure centres, it will require more detailed work and hopefully some external funding to help meet the build costs for the new centre- I very much look forward to the results of these.

“I am really pleased that members of Kirkby community have participated in the consultation and that we have taken on board a number of their suggestions.”