15 November 2017 – A new leisure centre for the Grove and Wantage area – Project Update

Last month more than 600 people took part in our consultation which asked what you thought of our plans to build a new leisure centre – thank you to everyone who took the time to respond.

84 per cent of those who took part backed our proposal, with 70 per cent agreeing that Mably Way was a suitable location. Following this strong support, we are now moving forward with the plans for a new leisure centre at Mably Way, with the aim of opening in 2020.

We will fund the entire project upfront, however as the new housing developments are built locally we will receive significant contributions towards this cost from developers. 68 per cent of people responding to the consultation agreed with the proposed funding for the centre and a majority also supported the concept designs.

You can see the full consultation report by visiting whitehorsedc.gov.uk/newleisurecentre.

Responding to the most common comments from the consultation

Questions covering four topics cropped up a number of times during the consultation:

• Why have we chosen a six lane 25 metre community swimming pool and not a competition pool? Our analysis has identified the need for a 25 metre, six-lane community pool with a learner pool in the local area. We already provide a competition pool at the White Horse Tennis and Leisure Centre with a 25 metre eight lane pool as a competition hub for swimming. There is also no evidence to support a need for a 50 metre pool in this area. This is supported by both Sports England and Swim England (formerly known as the Amateur Swimming Association).
• What is the future of the existing Wantage Leisure Centre? We are working with the county council and the Vale Academy Trust to investigate the options for how the existing leisure centre could be used in the future. It is our aim that some facilities here will continue to be available for community use.

• What’s happening with squash courts as these weren’t in the concept designs? Our studies suggest there is already sufficient squash provision in the Vale. However, we are committed to retaining existing squash facilitates at the Portway centre

• How will our scheme affect the proposed expansion of the health centre? Simply put, it won’t. The new leisure centre will be built on the council owned land next to the health centre site but will not impact on any plans they have to expand on the land they own.

What happens now?

Design work
Following a meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee last week, and using feedback received during the consultation, we are now working to finalise plans for the new site. We can confirm that the following facilities will be included:

• Main pool – 25 metre six lane community pool
• Learner pool
• Sports Hall (equivalent to four badminton courts)
• Health and Fitness provision
• Studio Spaces (multi use areas)
• Artificial Grass Pitch provision

We will also ask our design team to consider the feasibility, budget permitting, of including the following additional facilities in the final designs:

• Moveable floor in the learner pool
• Multi climbing wall experience
• Confidence water
• Coffee shop

Planning
We plan to submit two planning applications for the site.

We expect to submit the planning application for the leisure centre by Spring 2018, with the aim of achieving planning permission by the summer.

In the meantime, we’ve just submitted a separate application for a new access road. We need this permission in place first to allow us to relocate protected wildlife currently living on the site.

We won’t start work on the access road until the full application for the leisure centre has been granted.

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20 September 2017 – A new leisure centre for the Grove and Wantage area

To help meet the growing need for leisure facilities in the Grove and Wantage area, the District Council are planning to build a new leisure centre on land behind the Health Centre at Mably Way, Grove. The aim is for the new centre to open in 2020.

The new facility will play an important part of the future of Grove and Wantage as the area adapts to the meet the needs of a growing population, with new homes and facilities expected at Monks Farm, Crab Hill and the Grove Airfield site.

The ambition is to deliver a new leisure centre that will address the growing demand for enhanced sport and leisure facilities, increasing participation in sport and physical activity for the whole community.

Click on the link below to take you directly to the District Council’s webpages.

http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/services-and-advice/sports-leisure-and-arts/leisure-centres/new-leisure-centre-wantage-and-grove-are

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