What will Felixstowe's new £20million leisure complex feature?
PUBLISHED: 19:00 28 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:53 30 August 2019
Community leaders are set to press ahead with a £20million proposal to make Felixstowe a "leisure destination" able to attract people from an 80,000 population catchment area.
The project would see both Felixstowe Leisure Centre and Brackenbury Sports Centre demolished and a new state-of-the-art complex built as a new 'gateway' to the town and a 2,000-home 100-acre garden neighbourhood.
Experts at East Suffolk Council have analysed six options for the project, ranging from doing nothing to a complete refurbish of the two current centres.
They are now recommending councillors proceed with the option of creating an entirely new centre on farmland alongside the A154 Candlet Road-Walton bypass, the main route off the A14 dock spur roundabout into Felixstowe.
What would the centre include?
The complex would feature ...
● 25m, 8-lane swimming pool;
● 15m x 8.5m learner pool with moveable floor;
● 6-court sports hall;
● 100-station gym;
● two dance studios;
● spin studio;
● multi-purpose room;
● thermal suite (sauna and steam);
● Café for 40-50 people;
● full sized 3rd generation football pitch;
● 250 free car parking spaces.
Why it is needed?
The council has recently refurbished Deben and Leiston Leisure Centres, at a cost of £3.5m and £4.2m, and a £3.4m project to give Bungay Leisure Centre a facelift starts on September 16.
Felixstowe is next on the list though some work still needs to be completed with other landowners involved in the masterplan for the garden suburb.
Council officials and consultants say the seafront leisure centre and Brackenbury are reaching the end of their lives, are costly to run with some duplicated costs, and Felixstowe means that costs are also duplicated, and now there is "potential to deliver a single destination facility in the town, which will serve the community and also attract people from further afield".
In a joint report to cabinet on September 3, Letitia Smith, cabinet member for leisure and tourism, and Stephen Burroughes, cabinet member for operational partnerships, said there was an opportunity to make Felixstowe a "leisure destination" with the £20m project.
They said: "The council feels there is an opportunity in Felixstowe to develop its leisure facilities to become a destination of choice for both residents and tourists, offering the best and appropriate facilities to meet their needs, which also creates an income revenue stream for the council.
"The location of the site away from the seafront would increase the catchment population (by about 80,000 compared to the seafront site), bringing the centre within reach of a greater number of people.
"The site occupies a prominent position on the main A154 into the town, so the centre would have a very visible presence and be easily accessible to a wide population."
What happens next?
Cabinet wil consider all six options on September 3 and is recommended to ask officers to complete a business plan for the project by March 2020, including a full build programme and a 20-year business case to support it.
A budget of £250,000 is allocated to enable the design and planning of the new centre and Pulse Design and Build will be asked to provide designs and costs.
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A budget of £25,000 is allocated to enable officers to update the existing Built Facilities and Playing Pitch Strategies.
Talks would also continue with other landowners over the masterplan for the garden neighbourhood, which is a main strategy in the new Local Plan.