Broadbridge Heath Leisure consultation update

The Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre
The Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre

HORSHAM District Council has issued an updated statement on the progress of their consultation on the Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre after plans to demolish it were put on hold.

The statement said:

“In late February this year, HDC appointed consultants Strategic Leisure and FMG Consulting to produce a business case to determine the future of Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre, near Horsham.

“They have started work preparing the way forward for the future of Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre and will identify a range of options which will be presented to Horsham District Councillors on 3 May for public consultation.

“This will then be followed by a decision on the 27 June about the leisure centre’s future.

“The first three weeks of March saw the consultants, Rachel Fowler from Strategic Leisure and Kevin Godden from FMG Consulting, in detailed discussions with users of the centre, including the recently constituted Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre Joint User Group, Horsham Indoor Bowls Club and Broadbridge Heath Parish Council. 

“Several meetings have taken place to brief core users of the centre on the process being undertaken and their involvement has been very worthwhile.

“From these discussions the needs of the core users of the centre have been identified as well as some of the wider ‘community/social’ activities that the leisure centre has to offer.

“To ensure that sporting needs are accurately established, Sport England has been commissioned to undertake further work using its facilities planning modelling framework. On top of these solid evidence based foundations, potential future options for the centre will emerge. 

“It is essential for Horsham District Council to look at the wider area rather than solely at the activities in the vicinity of Broadbridge Heath.   

“In addition, therefore, sporting requirements for the whole Horsham area are also being investigated to ensure opportunities are not missed and that existing facilities are working to capacity.  

“Discussions have started with a number of national governing bodies to engage them in this process.

“Even though it is very early in the process, there are likely to be some interesting possible options beginning to emerge for retaining sporting and leisure provision in the area.

“Now that the needs of the area have been established, the next phase of work is to determine specific criteria and model a number of options along with indicative costs.

“This work will run in parallel to securing land valuations of the current site and likely planning designations in the form of a draft outline planning brief.

“Once these have been completed, emerging option(s) will then be presented to Horsham District Council’s Cabinet in May for approval for public consultation.

Speaking this week, Cllr Jonathan Chowen, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Arts and Heritage at Horsham District Council, said: “We have moved this project on significantly and there has been a lot of progress in a very short space of time.

“Often out of challenges come opportunities and I am certainly beginning to see alternative options emerge based on the sound assessment of need the consultants have been undertaking. 

“I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this process with time, ideas and enthusiasm.”