Exciting plans to improve and develop council sports facilities across Brighton & Hove and provide more opportunities for residents, could include developing three large leisure centres.
Brighton & Hove City councillors have approved a Sports Facilities Investment Plan which aims to develop good quality, accessible, sustainable facilities and services over the next 10 years.
Drawn up by FMG Consulting, a specialist sport and leisure consultancy, and following widespread consultation with residents and sports clubs, the plan sets out how participation in sport and physical activity can be increased and encouraged, improving the health and wellbeing of residents across the city.
The current range of sports facilities buildings, including the King Alfred Leisure Centre and Prince Regent Swimming Complex in Brighton & Hove, are well used by residents and provide a range of leisure opportunities for people of all ages.
However, most are showing their age - the most recent 'new' leisure centre in the city was built nearly 30 years ago. These older buildings are inefficient, expensive to run and maintain, and often fail to meet modern demand. It is estimated that the cost of maintaining these facilities for the next 15 years would cost around £20 million.
Modern, more efficient leisure centres
The report recommends that council resources should focus on developing modern, more efficient, leisure centres across the city, with facilities including swimming pools, sports hall, gyms and studios.
The sports facilities at Withdean Stadium would also be expanded to create a third large facility in the north of the city.
There are plans to enhance and expand community sports facilities at Moulsecoomb Community and Stanley Deason Leisure Centres and Portslade Sports Centre.
Existing sports centres would remain open while any new facilities were being built.
Your sport, your vision, your city
Last year, residents and members of sports clubs and groups across the city were encouraged to take part in the ‘Your sport, Your vision, Your city’ survey.
The response was high with nearly 1,500 residents sharing their views. There was overwhelming support for improving the city’s leisure facilities with more than 83% agreeing with the statement that the council should replace some of the older sports facilities in the city with better designed, more modern, more efficient new ones.
Respondents also highlighted quality, price and access as priorities when developing sorts facilities in the city.
The top priorities for a new large sports facility were swimming and teaching pools and leisure water followed by café, dance/aerobic studio, gym and sports halls. For smaller community facilities, respondents highlighted dance/aerobic space, café, gym and sports hall as their main priorities.
Councillor Martin Osborne, joint chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture and Committee, said: “It’s great to see that so many residents are already regularly taking part in sport and physical activity in the city, and the high response to the consultation shows how much our facilities are valued.
“Expanding the provision of sports facilities in the city would increase those levels further, improving health and wellbeing, and providing a range of sporting opportunities for all.”
The council’s approval of the plan means work can begin to develop the plan, steered by a cross-party project Member Working Group.
You can read the report here: