Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)
The Cabinet considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place), which set out proposals for the acceptance of Sport England Funding towards a 50m Swimming Pool at the Alan Higgs Centre and the future of the Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre.
In September 2014, the Council unanimously approved a ten-year partnership Sports Strategy for the City, underpinned by a new indoor Facilities Strategy, Playing Pitch Strategy and Aquatic Strategy.
The strategic review and rationalisation of public leisure facilities had been shaped into an implementation programme and the development of aquatic facilities at the Centre AT7 represented the first phase of this approach using an investment model of recycling revenue funding previously used for grant funding ageing facilities. Investment in Centre AT7 resulted in an immediate and positive impact in participation levels when compared to the Foleshill Sports and Leisure Centre.
In September 2014, Council approved £36.7m to be added to the capital programme for 2014/15 for the development of a City Centre Destination Leisure Facility (“The Wave”). This was the start of the second phase of the programme, with the opening of the facility set for later in 2019. Following this decision, the Council continued to work to explore and test the feasibility of providing a new 50m swimming pool. In August 2016, the Council approved the investment of £10.5m into a 50m swimming pool alongside a range of other sports improvements at the Alan Higgs Centre.
Sport England agreed to support the strategic development of aquatic provision in the City with a total of £3m investment. The first £1.5m was allocated to the development of The Wave. It is now proposed to accept the remaining £1.5m grant from Sport England towards the construction of the 50m swimming pool and enhancement of associated public leisure facilities at the Alan Higgs Centre. This would be added to the capital programme, such that the existing scheme could continue to be delivered on site to proposed standards.
Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre is made up of two parts, with the swimming section dating back to 1966 and the sports hall section to 1975. Levels of participations are declining as more modern and accessible facilities, such as the Centre AT7, are opened.
The opening of the 50m swimming pool at the Alan Higgs Centre along with the ongoing development of associated public leisure facilities in other areas of the City means that formal approval to close and decommission the Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre is now sought.
In January 2018, the Cabinet approved the addition of £2.05m to the capital programme for the development of a six lane indoor bowls rink and the Avenue Outdoor Bowls Club, Gavestone Road.
A petition was heard on 8th October 2018 by the Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport requesting that the Council keep Badminton court facilities in the city centre. It is proposed that work and consultation with any sports clubs and users that are to be displaced without alternative provision as a result of the phased commissioning and closure of the Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre commence, in order to find alternative facility provision within the city where possible.
It is proposed that there be a phased closure of the Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre and the commissioning of feasibility for the future use of the building. This would see the phased decommissioning and closure in line with decreasing demand, subject to their being no failure of major plant / equipment or force majeure. Feasibility work would be commissioned and undertaken in relation to the future uses and / or the potential disposal of the building, taking account of factors such as the city centre location, key planning and heritage requirements, financial implications and future sustainability.
RESOLVED that the Cabinet:
1. Delegate authority to the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) and the Director of Finance and Corporate Services to accept the terms and conditions of the Sport England grant and incorporate the grant within the Capital Programme as necessary.
2. Approve the managed decommissioning and phased closure of the Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre (“the Property”) as set out in the report submitted. This includes working with users to identify, where possible, alternative facilities for them to use.
3. Approve that following the closure of the Property (Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre) to declare the Property surplus to requirement and also consent to the disposal of the Property by the City Council (if deemed appropriate).
4. Delegate authority to the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) following consultation with the Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration to agree the preferred method of disposal and to commence the disposal process. The authority granted under this recommendation shall include the power to undertake the necessary due diligence and to enter into such legal agreements.
5. Delegate authority to the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) following consultation with the Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration to oversee and approve the planned phased closure of Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre.