Stratton leisure centre set for £1m makeover
This article appeared in the local newspaper on Saturday, and will be of interest to residents.
Richard Hurley, “Stratton Parish Council has decided to take out a 10 year £1 million loan to improve their leisure centre, yet banned members of the public from taking part in the discussions about whether it should happen. This Leisure Centre is already losing £160,000 a year so residents will now be footing an annual bill of £250,000 every year for the next decade!”
Dale Heenan “My view is that the all-weather grass pitch at the back of the centre is something Councillors have been suggesting for years and wouldn’t cost a lot but might help stem their huge losses a little. The improvements are laudable but instead of taking out this loan, Stratton Parish Council could cut their annual tax 9%, by returning the £100,000 surplus they already don’t spend every year to the pockets of local residents. The Parish has also revealed that the £1 million sitting in their bank account will go into a “high interest” deposit account.”
Stratton St Margaret Parish Council is intending to update its leisure centre, in Grange Drive, which is more than 30 years old.
The council has applied for a loan from the Secretary Of State, but parish council chairman John Foley, has said the project will go ahead even if that is not granted.
Stratton Leisure Centre was built in 1978 and there have been a number of investments made over the years to increase the facilities available there .
However, investment is needed to deal with issues relating to its age and to help build on the business, which has seen substantial increases in trade over the last two years.
Income for the first six months of the current trading year has increased by 7.4 per cent on the previous year.
The council has carried out both a full condition survey and a feasibility study of the building and from these it has developed an investment plan that will deal with the fabric of the building, as well as invest in a range of income generating facilities.
The main sports hall needs major work on the roof, as well as a replacement floor. The fire doors need to be replaced and the fire alarm system needs to be removed. There is also other structural work required to keep the building safe, operational and weatherproof.
The proposed new facilities will include an all-weather grass pitch at the back of the centre.
It is also hoped to refurbish the toilets and changing facilities,and possibly conversion of the squash courts into a new health and fitness suite.
Other work will be carried out on the foyer and reception area.
Coun Foley said: “This is a very exciting time for the parish and the leisure centre in particular.
“The council has been developing this investment programme for the last four years and is now satisfied everything is in place.”
The chairman of the finance committee, Coun Nigel Chalk, said: “The loan will have no detrimental effect on the parish precept which will not increase as a result of the proposed loan facility.
“The main thrust of the investment will be to develop both the existing business and create new business thus reducing its costs.”
The parish council is waiting to hear if its application for a loan will be approved. If it is, work will begin in the New Year and will probably take 18 months. The Leisure Centre will remain open during the changes and disruption will be kept to a minimum.