We have plans for a new state-of-the-art leisure and cultural hub in Farnborough town centre.

Leisure and cultural hub consultation

Thanks to everyone who came along to our pre-planning application drop-in events, or took the time to give feedback on the consultation website in March.

Our planning consultants are reviewing the feedback ahead of finalising the scheme for the planning application and will respond in a Statement of Community Involvement that they will submit in support of the application.

Once the planning application has been submitted there will be a further opportunity for you to comment on it as part of our statutory consultation period.

Proposals for the new leisure and cultural hub

Artist's impression of the new leisure and cultural hub

Leisure and cultural hub artist's impression

Location plan of the hub in the Civic Quarter site

Plan of the hub in the Civic Quarter site

The hub is set to include:

  • A new leisure centre, which will offer an eight-lane swimming pool, training pool with moveable floor, six-court sports hall, fitness and spin studios, and soft play, together with a large café and space for performance
  • A cultural hub, which will include space for an art gallery, digital lab, collaboration space and studios
  • A new skate park and destination play area

In addition, the development will provide accommodation for the council offices and voluntary sector, and potentially a new library and associated community space, along with a new mobility hub.

We anticipate that we will start construction in summer 2025 and the scheme will be completed in summer 2027.

As part of our commitment to tackle climate change, our intention is for the new scheme to achieve BREEAM certification of 'very good'. We are also aiming for the building to be built to achieve Passivhaus certification, delivering net zero carbon and maximising its energy saving potential.

Replacing the skatepark

The skatepark will stay open until we provide a replacement. We are planning to start work on the new skatepark design in early 2025 and will be asking for input on those designs from skatepark users and the wider community.

A new library

The current library site is part of the wider civic quarter regeneration scheme and so the plan is to provide a new library for Hampshire County Council in the leisure and cultural hub. Once the new library is open, the old one would be demolished.

The new cultural hub

We received £20 million from the government's Levelling Up fund because the government agreed it would help address community needs around health, physical activity, social wellbeing and gaps in what's available culturally in Farnborough and Aldershot. 

The hub is set to include gallery and community gallery space, as well as studios and space where local artists and artists in residence can work together on artistic and creative projects. The gallery would be of a quality that would allow us to borrow and exhibit art from national collections. The space would also allow for immersive digital experiences and digital art throughout the building.

As well as the dedicated library area and community rooms, the cultural hub is also set to include a digital lab, offering space for people to work together, for training and access to equipment, building on the digital skills offer at the library.

Background to the leisure and cultural hub proposals

Closure of the old leisure centre

The old Farnborough leisure centre was closed because of the pandemic.

In 2021, when lockdown ended, the cost of reopening the centre, along with increased payments to our contractor, came to more than £1 million. This meant we could not afford to reopen the centre without cutting other services. 

Instead, we decided to press ahead with clearing the site in preparation for the new centre, while at the same time working with our partners and other organisations on what should be in the new hub and making sure there was a sound business case for it.

This included bidding and securing the £20 million Levelling Up funding from the government, and preparing and securing an outline planning application for civic quarter as a whole.

Demolition of the building has, in the meantime, also saved us money including in business rates and security for the building.

Funding the new hub

The cost of the new leisure and cultural hub building is estimated at £58 million. As well as the £20 million of Levelling Up funding, we are expecting to find the remaining £38 million funding from the sale of plots and developments across the civic quarter and from other land and property assets that we own. We may also need to take some long-term borrowing. We anticipate that some of the borrowing costs would be funded by payments from the leisure centre's contractor and from income from the new centre, such the hire of rooms and cultural facilities.

Wider civic quarter site

The proposals for the new hub are part of the wider civic quarter masterplan scheme, for which our Development Management Committee granted outline consent in February 2023.

You can read more on our civic quarter page.

Keep informed about the hub

If you would like to be kept informed about our proposals and how you can get involved, please let us know.

Alternative local leisure facilities

You will find details about alternative local leisure facilities on our Leisure facilities pages and about our Aldershot Pools and Fitness Centre, Farnham Leisure Centre and Places Leisure Camberley on the Places Leisure website.

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