Dunstable Leisure Centre and Library redevelopment
The previous leisure centre and library were no longer fit for purpose or cost effective to run. Both required substantial improvements.
By bringing services together under one roof, the new facility will reduce running costs, while providing more flexible services to customers, such as improved opening hours for public services.
We consulted with customers and the wider community about the plans.
We listened to this feedback and amended our plans to include some of the suggestions made.
Why was Dunstable Leisure Centre being redeveloped?
Our Leisure Strategy (link opens in new window) identified the need for the refurbishment of Dunstable Leisure Centre and an increase in health and fitness equipment to meet the needs of the current and future population growth. The Leisure Strategy did not show a need for a bigger pool in Dunstable.
Whilst the Leisure Strategy identified the need for refurbishment of the old centre, we have gone further than this and made the decision to comprehensively redevelop.
The roof was already failing, causing closures and loss of income to the council, and the air handling in the pool hall was not working properly.
The main pool hall roof was netted to mitigate any potential failure of the roof, and this was giving customers cause for concern and lack of confidence in the service.
We need to make services as efficient as possible and redeveloping the building will maximise the opportunities for this as it will consolidate a number of services under one roof and extend the services for which we know there is a demand (health and fitness, library and Citizens Advice).
How was it funded?
We borrowed the money to fund the development and the sale of the library site and the artificial pitch site will contribute to the cost. The new facility will save us money by reducing the number of buildings it operates and will be more efficient and more profitable. We also secured a £1 million grant from Sport England's Strategic Facilities Fund towards the redevelopment project.
Why redevelop and not build a new centre somewhere else?
The site is the best site for Dunstable Leisure Centre and the library as it is well located within Dunstable town centre adjacent to a range of education, retail, leisure, recreation and cultural services. It is easily accessed by public transport and has convenient car parking facilities.
There was capacity within the footprint for extension and improved internal layout.
The pool tanks and sports hall structures were in good enough condition to continue to be used. It’s therefore cheaper than building a new building from scratch.
We have looked at other sites in Dunstable e.g. the court house or the artificial pitch. However, building from scratch would be more expensive.
Building a new leisure centre elsewhere would not have guaranteed that the previous leisure centre would have stayed open during this time as it was already in a poor condition (the swimming pool roof was netted).
What will happen to the sites being vacated by the library and artificial pitch?
We will look at options which could involve commercial / residential / community redevelopment projects and/or potential re-use. Of course, any major developments will be subject to consultation and planning processes.
Planning application submitted for Dunstable Leisure Centre
We submitted a planning application (CB/16/04283) for the redevelopment of Dunstable Leisure Centre on Monday October 10, 2016.