Residents have been taking part in discussions around plans to build a new leisure centre in the west of the city, to replace the ageing King Alfred Leisure Centre.
In April, more than 200 local people attended an all-day ‘drop-in’ event at the centre to share their thoughts and find out more.
The drop-in was hosted by staff from Planning for Real, our external engagement partner, along with council officers, who shared information about the project and captured residents’ aspirations and views.
Almost 500 comments were received, ranging from thoughts on the location and design of the new building, to the facilities that could be included.
Many people were keen to see a competition size pool for swimmers of all ages and abilities and a fun pool for children. There were also requests for badminton, martial arts, dance and a range of fun activities for children and young people.
A bigger updated gym, a wider range of classes and targeted sports for the over 60s and women were also on residents’ wish lists.
Ensuring that the centre meets the needs of those with disabilities was highlighted by many residents, with suggestions including more adaptive equipment, cubicle showers, audio points and coloured wayfinding routes around the centre.
Residents also felt energy efficiency should be a priority and that options for using green energy, recyclable materials and an energy efficient design for the building should be encouraged.
While many residents said they used active travel or public transport to access the current leisure centre, others called for adequate car parking facilities and blue badge parking for those who need to drive or travel from further afield.
Following the drop-in event, we hosted a ‘visioning workshop’ to get further input about plans. The workshop was attended by 40 people representing residents, community groups and sports clubs who regularly use the centre.
The aim of the workshop was to create an overall vision for the new facility and consider the practical and financial constraints of delivering it.
From calls to build on the existing site, to a plea to ‘be bold and do something amazing’ attendees were keen to add their comments and explore options.
While some residents clearly favoured a seafront location, others suggested sites to the north of Hove and nearer to schools, with good walking routes and public transport links.
Over the summer and early autumn, site options will be explored in more detail and a timeline for the project developed. Work will include some initial outline designs and feasibility studies for the current and alternative sites.
This work will be influenced by feedback from the informal sessions that have taken place.
Work will continue throughout the summer and into the autumn when we will share a shortlist of three sites (including the current site) and more detailed consultation on those options.
Alan Robins, chair of the council’s Culture, Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Economic Regeneration Committee said: “Brighton & Hove residents are passionate about sports and leisure and we’re focussed on delivering a facility that our city deserves.
“Getting views from residents is vital if we are to achieve our aim of creating a modern new hub that meets local needs and attracts visitors both now and in the future.
“We are delighted that so many people have already taken the time to attend consultation events and share their thoughts.
“But if you missed them – don’t worry. There will be many more opportunities to have your say over the coming months."