£10million bill for Castle Sports Complex rebuild

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PLANS to regenerate the Castle Sports Complex in Spalding are set to cost £10 million.

South Holland district councillors will be ask to approve £20,000 to fund a business case for the new leisure centre in Spalding at their meeting on Wednesday night.

An outline document drawn up ahead of the meeting shows that the Castle revamp will cost about £7.2million and, once “design and client supervision costs” and contingencies are built in, the total for the whole project should be £10million.

Council deputy leader Nick Worth said that the plans are not moving as quickly as he had hoped and said that the dream to have the new centre open in time for the 2012 Olympics may not be realistic.

However, he said he is confident that members can be convinced to continue the plan – which could be funded by a loan or by dipping into the council’s savings.

Coun Worth said: “I think I would like it to be quicker so it is a little bit frustrating. I am happy enough with the way it’s going though and the details of where it’s going.

“There are a number of options for funding. We just need professional financial advice so we can get a recommendation for the best one.

“The Olympic deadline might now be a little bit hopeful but as long as we get another leisure centre that has got to be good news.”

At the end of last year the council unveiled its surprise plans to revive the Castle revamp, which was ditched in 2008 when the recession took hold.

The council believes that the combination of low interest rates and a construction industry looking for new work make this the right time to act.

The outline business case states that borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board has now been made more expensive by the coalition government but says there are several different ways the council could borrow the money.

It also reveals that surplus brown field land at the Castle could be sold for £1.25million, planning money from the new power station could be used and grants could be available.

The council could dip into its £13.5million reserves, which is not currently earning much interest. It would gradually pay this money back and expects to earn £300,000 a year from a new leisure centre.

The new building would be within the current Castle Field and leisure centre site and initial plans show a new 25 metre six-lane pool, a learner pool, a six badminton court sports hall, changing areas, an “80 station” gym and activity room.

The sports hall would be smaller, the bowls hall would become separate and the outdoor athletics, tennis and football areas would be lost.