Media release - issued 16 Feb 2021

Cabinet to consider plans to drive forward new leisure centre redevelopment

Proposals that would see the £20 million redevelopment of the new Farnborough Leisure Centre press ahead are set to be considered by Rushmoor Borough Council's Cabinet.

The new leisure centre is intended to form part of a new civic and community hub, which in turn would play a major role in the wider Civic Quarter regeneration scheme.

It would replace the existing leisure centre, now than 40 years old and very dated, with current plans for new facilities including a 25-metre, eight lane swimming pool, a training pool with moveable floor, fitness suite, an eight-court sports hall, studios, squash courts, a ten-pin bowling alley, café, soft play and sauna/steam rooms.

At its meeting on Tuesday 23 February the Cabinet will be told that the council had planned to bring forward the leisure centre redevelopment as part of a wider package of changes, which would have also seen a new long-term contract to run its leisure facilities when the current contract ends on 31 March.

However, with much uncertainty still around how long it will take the leisure industry to recover from the pandemic, there is the opportunity to move ahead with the new leisure centre plans, while it does so.

This would mean that the current leisure centre would remain closed when pandemic restrictions are lifted to allow the site to be cleared and the redevelopment proposals to go ahead.

The Cabinet will also consider a number of options for running the Aldershot Pools & Fitness Centre until the new leisure centre is built and a longer-term leisure contract put it place. These will include a new short-term contract with Places Leisure; running the service in-house or through a local authority-controlled company or trust; or seeking another leisure provider to run the contract.

Recognising the impact the Farnborough Leisure Centre proposals would have on its clubs and users, the council would seek to help them to find alternative local facilities during the re-build. It would also explore options to support initiatives to help encourage exercise and fitness activities in local communities and neighbourhoods.

In addition, the council would seek to work closely with its current contractor, Places Leisure, to support its staff to find alternative employment, where necessary.

Councillor Maurice Sheehan, Rushmoor Borough Council's Cabinet member for Operational Services, said: "These are exceptional times that we find ourselves in, but this does give us a unique opportunity to bring forward the new Farnborough Leisure Centre, which I know many people are looking forward to.

"People being able to lead healthy and active lives is important to us.  So we will need to consider closely what the implications of keeping Farnborough Leisure Centre closed while we build the new one would be on our residents and local sports clubs, and do all we can to make sure they have access to alternative local facilities.  Once it's built, the new centre will offer some fantastic facilities that will serve us well for many years to come."

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