Alternative location proposed for new Cranleigh Leisure Centre

Alternative location proposed for new Cranleigh Leisure Centre

Could the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre replace the existing portfolio of Cranleigh Parish Council owned buildings in Village Way, integrating these existing services and improving health and wellbeing outcomes for the village?

Community transformation consultants Wellnorth Enterprises are reviewing options for the integration of health and wellbeing services in the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre.

During a presentation to Cranleigh Parish Council yesterday evening, representatives from Wellnorth Enterprises explained to councillors the scope of their project in the village.

Wellnorth Enterprises are considering whether Cranleigh could add health services to the new Leisure Centre, and how health and wellbeing outcomes in Cranleigh can be improved through better joined-up thinking.

Following visits to Cranleigh and various meetings with key stakeholders, the consultants are hosting an online immersion workshop later this month, designed to generate more ideas for services that could be included in the new Leisure Centre.

Neil Orpwood from HLA Architects, who are working with Wellnorth Enterprises, asked councillors if they would consider using their land and buildings in Village Way as a location for the new Leisure Centre, or as a development site to raise money for improved services in the village.

Cranleigh Parish Council owns properties in Village Way, including the Band Room, Parish Council and Citizens Advice offices, Scout and Guide Huts, public toilets, and the Village Hall, built in 1933.

Replacing some or all of these Cranleigh Parish Council owned buildings with the new Leisure Centre would avoid the need to site the building in the middle of the Village Way Car Park, the current preferred location option for Waverley Borough Council.

If the proposal receives support from councillors and the community, it would preserve valuable car parking in Village Way for the duration of the Leisure Centre build, which could take as long as two years.

The popular Village Way Thursday market would also remain in its current location.

During the meeting, representatives from Wellnorth Enterprises said they wanted to understand where the red lines were from Cranleigh Parish Council, so they could understand which options remained available to discuss at their upcoming immersion meeting.

Cranleigh Parish Council expressed their eagerness to participate in the consultation process and debate the ideas that emerge from the workshop.

Cllr Liz Townsend, portfolio holder for the new Leisure Centre, explained that Wellnorth Enterprises was exploring “the art of the possible” and confirmed that nothing is set in stone regarding the new Leisure Centre location. She said that any ideas coming from Wellnorth Enterprises would require fuller consultation with the community and reminded councillors that Waverley Borough Council is working to a tight timetable to deliver the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre.

Lord Andrew Mawson from Wellnorth Enterprises responded, saying that timetables are a good thing, but any decisions about the new Leisure Centre need to be right for Cranleigh.

Following the presentation, members of Cranleigh Parish Council held a public debate, with one saying that councillors need to think outside of the box and another expressing concern about the long-term viability of health and wellbeing services delivered within the new Leisure Centre.

Where would you like to see the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre built? Join the debate on our Facebook Page:

Waverley Borough Council has agreed to invest almost £20 million to build a low-carbon new-build Cranleigh Leisure Centre, constructed to a minimum of Passivhaus standard.

The recommended location for the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre is in Village Way car park, subject to obtaining the necessary planning permission.

The existing Cranleigh Leisure Centre was constructed in 1969, with a projected lifespan of 40 years. Waverley carried out a subsequent refurbishment in 2009 at £1.67 million, but this did not include any structural alterations.

As things stand, Cranleigh Leisure Centre runs at a loss, with a payment of £150,000 a year made by Waverley to the contractor to operate the site.

Consultants instructed by Waverley recommended a facility mix of the new Leisure Centre, including a 25m 5-lane swimming pool, 13m teaching pool (with a moveable floor), 110 station gym, multi-purpose exercise studios, indoor cycling studio, squash courts, soft play area, treatment rooms, sauna and steam room, and 50-seat cafe.

Several options for the replacement of Cranleigh Leisure Centre were considered, all within the area of Village Way, to maintain a village centre location.

The preferred option, building the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre on the Village Way car park, is designed to ensure continuity of service throughout the two-year development process and prevent a compensation payment to the operating partner, Places for Leisure.

Work on the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre will not commence until after the current leisure centre management contract ends in June 2023.

Waverley Borough Council approved the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre proposals last month, with the detailed design and discharge of planning conditions by December 2023, and then the construction of the new leisure centre, with the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre open to the public in June 2025.

Demolition of the existing Cranleigh Leisure Centre would take place by October 2025.

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