Revealed: New Cranleigh Leisure Centre Masterplan and discounted options

Revealed: New Cranleigh Leisure Centre Masterplan and discounted options

Revealed: New Cranleigh Leisure Centre Masterplan and discounted optionsWaverley Borough Council has published a comprehensive report providing an update on the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre project, including a masterplan drawing and details of various rejected options.

The report follows an options appraisal completed behind closed doors in 2019 and a subsequent feasibility update report in September 2021.

The report recommends that the Executive at Waverley Borough Council invest almost £20 million to build a low-carbon new-build Cranleigh Leisure Centre, constructed to a minimum of Passivhaus standard.

It also recommends that a project manager and specialist energy consultant be appointed at the cost of £250,000.

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.

With the existing building failing, leading to several unplanned closures in recent years, building a new Cranleigh Leisure Centre was deemed more appropriate than the estimated £6 million in costs that would likely be incurred over the next five years.

Because Cranleigh is experiencing many new homes, with permission for 1,800 new properties to be built in the village, and a further 2,600 allocated to nearby Dunsfold Park in the Local Plan, there is a growing demand for leisure facilities.

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.

Re-modelling the existing Cranleigh Leisure Centre was considered an option but discounted due to significant issues with the pool tank and loss of income during the construction phases.

Other options considered and discounted included building on the tennis courts and car park, to the east side of the car park, to the north side of the car park, or on the Parish Council land to the west side of the car park.

Options to build the new leisure centre on Snoxhall Fields and the Bruce McKenzie Memorial Fields were also considered and subsequently discounted, as planning was not supported on these sites.

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.

The leaseholder of Cranleigh Market, which operates on a Thursday, has confirmed they have no issue with the potential of moving to another location during the works.

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 is expected to approve the proposals in January 2022, 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.

Within the report, there is no planned provision for additional car parking throughout the construction process, as the consultants have confirmed there is sufficient capacity to allow works and still provide sufficient car parking provision in the village.

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