Reservations over site for new Spalding leisure centre

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A FULL business case into plans to regenerate the Castle Sports Complex in Spalding will find out if the scheme will “stand up”.

South Holland district councillors voted for £20,000 to be made available for the work at a full council meeting on Wednesday.

It means full planning work can now begin on a £10million vision for the Castle Field.

Coun Bryan Alcock insisted he was “totally supportive” of the replacement facility in principal but had reservations about its location.

He said: “It’s not that easy for people from across the district to get to that location.”

He added: “If we are going to spend this amount of money and build it, make it a good one.”

“I share a great number of concerns,” said council leader Coun Gary Porter. “That is why the full business case sees whether it stands up.”

Several councillors suggested the new building could become a home for clubs currently at the British Sugar Sports and Social Club, which was earmarked for demolition under plans to expand Spalding’s power station.

Questions were raised over what facilities would be included in the centre but deputy council leader Coun Nick Worth said it was something which would be addressed in the full business case.

The initial plans in the outline business case show a new 25-metre swimming pool, learner pool, sports hall, 90-station gym and activity room.

Funding options for the scheme include borrowing funds, grants, selling off surplus brown land at the Castle and planning money from the new power station.

Council reserves of £13.5million are also an option.

The council’s portfolio holder for finance, Coun Paul Przyszlak, has not yet been won over by the scheme.

“It’s the wrong time to go out borrowing,” he said. “I do not believe the outline business case is worth the paper it’s written on. I cannot support it.”

However, he admitted the £20,000 business case was the only thing that “might” convince him.

“Let’s just look at where this money has come from,” said Coun Francis Biggadike. “It has been collected in years of council tax.

“We are not meant to raise more money than we need.

“We can put it back to the public or still go on raising more than we need and keep the reserves up.”