Attendances could double at a new £12.3m Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre with more than 400,000 per annum expected within four years of its scheduled opening in 2018.
Plans to redevelop the facility, which would include a six-court sports hall, gym, studios, cafe, sensory room, soft play area, and climbing wall, are set to be agreed by Horsham District Council’s Cabinet on Monday November 23.
Originally HDC announced in late 2011 it was planning to demolish the leisure centre and not provide a replacement, but councillors then committed to building a new facility after a hard-fought campaign by users.
The new facility is planned next to the bowls centre, which will be retained, while the current proposals do not affect the athletics track.
Although it has been identified as a potential development site, ‘there are no plans to redevelop the track until a new site has been secured’, according to an officers’ report.
However the indoor athletics facility, known as the tube, is not included in plans for a new centre, with users saying they felt ‘ignored’ and ‘depressed’ last month when fresh proposals were unveiled.
The Cabinet report states that the decision not to replace the tube is ‘driven because the cost of replacement and ongoing maintenance far exceeds the marginal benefits of retention’, while non-athletics activities could be accommodated in other parts of the new centre.
It reads: “In its own right the tube does not make a significant contribution in terms of income to meet the annual running and replacement costs of the overall leisure centre.
“Additionally, any indoor athletics facility should remain proximate to the outdoor track.
“As the track will be relocated it is not deemed sensible to re-provide the tube at this site. UK Athletics have previously stated that they would prefer a different location, other than Horsham, for a replacement indoor facility.”
The report continues: “The loss of the tube will have an impact on a relatively small number of athletes.
“However, the provision of a multi-use sports hall, enhanced fitness suite and additional studios will increase annual attendances at the centre from just over 200,000 to over 400,000 during the first four years after it is opened.”
Building work is expected to start in autumn 2016, with the centre opening in 2018.
If the recommendations are agreed by HDC’s Cabinet on Monday, they will then go to Full Council.
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