Public to have say on leisure centre future

Have your say

THE future of Spalding’s Castle Sports Complex could be thrown open to public debate within the next few weeks.

After many months of behind the scenes planning, the district council is almost ready to unveil its ideas and start a public consultation to find out what facilities residents want to see.

The options on the table range from doing nothing, which would mean the loss of a swimming pool in the town as the existing one is not up to scratch, to a complete rebuild and redesign of the whole site.

District council portfolio holder for economic developer Coun Howard Johnson said the redesign would be his preferred choice as it would be the only one which would provide the district with what it needs for future generations.

He said: “Clearly the way to go is a total redevelopment of the whole site which would include a swimming pool complex, five-a-side all-weather pitches and landscaping to provide a really nice area for families.

“That could include areas for taking a walk and having a picnic and possibly an outdoor paddling pool.

“What that would do is give the people of Spalding something they have never had before, a nice grass area to walk and play in, so I strongly favour it.

“The other options are not really options at all in my opinion.”

As well as the redevelopment and doing nothing, other options could be to carry out a minor refurbishment, such as fixing leaks at the swimming pool, or a major refurbishment within the existing buildings.

Another consideration could be to provide the facilities at a new location on the outskirts of town.

Coun Johnson said: “People would not really see any outward benefit to a minor refurbishment and even a major refurbishment would still mean we would end up with a 1970s facility.

“It could improve footfall in the short term but the people of South Holland deserve better.

“The current Castle site is well-liked and easily accessible on foot, so I do not think people will want to see the sports centre move out of town.”

In the past it has been suggested that a new sports complex would include a 25m six-lane pool, a learner pool, a six badminton court sports hall, changing areas and an 80 station gym. The bowls hall could become separate and the outdoor athletics, tennis and football areas would be lost.

But council leader Gary Porter sounded a note of caution, saying the plans need to be considered against a background of difficult economic conditions and depended on the council having the money to take them forward.

A detailed study of the financial implications into the options are currently being carried out.