£10m rebuild plan for sports centre shelved

No change for now: Spalding's Castle Sports Complex.
No change for now: Spalding's Castle Sports Complex.

AMBITIOUS plans which could have seen Spalding’s Castle Sports Centre knocked down and replaced with bigger and better facilities have been mothballed for “a couple of years”.

It had been hoped that the outdated building could be replaced by this summer to coincide with the London Olympics.

A new 25m six-lane swimming pool, a learner pool, a six badminton court sports hall, changing areas, an 80-station gym and activity room had been considered for the project, which had been expected to cost £10m.

It had also been hoped that the centre could become home to clubs currently at the British Sugar Sports and Social Club which is due to close at the end of this month.

In January last year, South Holland District Council agreed to make £20,000 available to see if the scheme would be feasible, but after a confidential report was presented to councillors behind closed doors last week, it was agreed to shelve the plans.

Coun Howard Johnson said: “Of course, it all comes down to affordability.

“The Castle Sports Complex is currently functioning so we have decided to leave it as it is for a couple of years and then we will reconsider our options.

“Unfortunately, until then it is likely to drop off the radar for a while.”

Replacing the centre had been one of only three options the council had been considering.

One of the other choices was to do nothing, but it was feared this could mean the loss of the swimming pool as the current one is not up to scratch.

There was also the possibility of doing minor refurbishments, such as fixing the leaks at the swimming pool.

In January this year, Coun Johnson said those two options were “not options at all”, saying the town deserved better than a 1970s facility.

But after the latest decision he said: “The current economic climate means that many of the options investigated are currently not achievable.

“In two years time the financial situation may be different and as the decision is not urgent it was decided that it would be prudent to return to this issue then.

“In the intervening period the Castle Sports Complex, including the pool, will continue to operate as normal.”

A council spokesman confirmed £17,350 of the £20,000 allocated for the feasibility study had been spent to date on professional services such as structural surveying, but added: “This work will have ongoing benefits to the council irrespective of its choice to postpone any decision on the future of the Castle Leisure Complex.”