[R]esidents are being invited to have their say on ambitious ‘masterplan’ proposals to redevelop leisure facilities in Ulverston.
A public consultation will start on Monday, 7 November, inviting residents – whether they use existing facilities or not – leisure centre customers, clubs, user groups and other stakeholders including health professionals, schools and Ulverston Town Council, to offer their ideas and opinions on proposals for a potential £13m redevelopment of the Priory Road site.
South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has commissioned FMG Consulting Ltd to carry out the next stage of the work, which will include the extensive public consultation along with further planning and financial considerations, including whether funding commitments from partners could be secured.
So far studies have established that new facilities could be successfully developed at Priory Road and the initial proposals that have been drawn-up include a brand new leisure centre building housing a swimming pool, gym, studio spaces, indoor tennis/multi-use hall, as well as a café, social and meeting spaces and outdoor facilities and sports pitches.
In the consultation document FMG reference recent developments of a similar size and facilities mix as examples of what could be achieved in Ulverston, including the Blaydon Leisure Centre in the north east opened in 2010 and the new leisure centre at Workington that opened in August this year.
Councillor Chris Hogg, SLDC portfolio holder for Culture and Wellbeing, said: “We are very excited about the potential of this development. Now it is very important that we hear the views from the local community, stakeholders and partners on the proposals.
“This has the potential to secure the future of leisure provision in Ulverston and the surrounding area, and would improve the leisure offer and help people to live healthier and more active lives.”
The facilities at Priory Road are run by North Country Leisure (NCL) on behalf of SLDC.
The council and NCL are working together on the masterplan, which has also been informed by GSK’s (GlaxoSmithKline’s) need to relocate its sports centre as part of possible future redevelopment plans of its site on North Lonsdale Road, Ulverston.
Further discussions will now take place about how the council and GSK could work together with other possible investment partners such as Sport England to maximise the benefits for Ulverston, ensuring existing GSK sports club users and the wider community have access to good quality facilities.
The further stage of feasibility work, including the public consultation, will include meetings with existing GSK sports club users.
Pat McIver, Project Director at GSK in Ulverston, said: “The Ulverston leisure masterplan suggested that if the council, GSK and other organisations work together to create a new leisure centre, we can maximise the benefits for the town.
“We believe this has the potential to be an exciting development for Ulverston, providing access to state-of-the-art facilities.
“We are looking forward to the next phase of feasibility work. This is an important opportunity for all those who use our sports club, as well as the rest of the community, to find out more about the proposals and to give their views about how they would like to see leisure facilities in Ulverston develop.”
Derek Jones, Partnership Manager for NCL, said: “We are very proud to be supporting our partners South Lakeland District Council.
“One of North Country Leisure’s main objectives is to help more people become more active, more often. To help achieve this, it is important to have excellent quality leisure facilities, located in the right place, that provide a wide range of activities which cater for the needs of all of the community.
“The consultation that is about to take place cannot be underestimated in terms of its importance. Please take the opportunity to have your say. The feedback received will help shape the future of leisure provision in the area now and for generations to come.”
Currently the Priory Road site is home to a swimming pool, gym, tennis centre, a full-size artificial pitch, all-weather tennis courts and new 3G pitch, as well as grass pitches and associated parking areas.
The existing cricket pitch and clubhouse adjacent to the swimming pool is on land owned by SLDC but is separately leased and would not be affected by any redevelopment of the wider site.
The consultation period will run for six weeks, from Monday, 7 November 2016, to 5pm on Monday, 16 December 2016.
As part of the public consultation a number of ‘drop-in’ sessions are planned to help capture local views on the new leisure facilities proposals:
- Ulverston Coronation Hall: Thursday, 17 November, 10am to 3pm
- Ulverston Swimming Pool: Thursday, 17 November, from 5pm to 7pm
- Ulverston Tennis Centre: Saturday, 19 November, from 11am to 1pm
- GSK Sports Club: Tuesday, 22 November, 6pm to 8pm
An online survey is being used to capture the community’s views. The web address for the survey is: www.southlakeland.gov.uk/ulverston-leisure-masterplan
For anyone that doesn’t have access to the website or can’t attend one of the drop-in events, copies of the survey will also be available from Ulverston Swimming Pool and from GSK Sports Club.