The proposed layout of the new leisure centre at Stychbrook Park
The proposed layout of the new leisure centre at Stychbrook Park

Councillors will hear more details about proposals to spend £10million on a new leisure centre in Lichfield at a meeting next week.

The facility is being proposed at Stychbrook Park as a long-term replacement for the Friary Grange Leisure Centre.

The future of the development had been thrown into doubt though after Lichfield District Council’s bid for Levelling Up funding was rejected for the second time.

But now plans have been drawn up for the council to stump up £10million for the new swimming pool and associated facilities.

Work has taken place with specialists ReCreation to develop the proposals based on another leisure centre currently being built in Essex.

A report from Cllr Andy Smith, cabinet member for leisure and parks, said the financial commitment had been made possible due to a “favourable financial settlement” from the Government.

“Approval to develop a new leisure centre requires confidence that both the initial capital costs and ongoing revenue costs of the centre can be met.

“The council has worked closely with ReCreation to develop an understanding of the cost of building a leisure centre with the mix of facilities required on Stychbrook Park in Lichfield, based on an understanding of the site.

“The proposal is to develop a centre identical to one visited in Rainham, Essex.

“Careful financial planning and a favourable financial settlement in 2023/24 and 2024/25 has enabled the council to identify £10million of capital funding for the new centre, from a mixture of cash and internal borrowing.”

Cllr Andy Smith, Lichfield District Council

Construction work began on the original facility in Essex in January 2022 and features a six-lane swimming pool, dance and spin studio and a 72-station fitness suite.

It is expected to open in June.

Cllr Smith’s report said that while replicating that site meant aspects such as a sports hall were not included, such facilities could be added further down the line.

“The council’s ambition, in proposing the modular approach to developing a new leisure centre, is for there to be an ability and flexibility to add to those facilities, with for example a sports hall and learner swimming pool, as further funding becomes available in the future.”

Cllr Andy Smith, Lichfield District Council

The report will be discussed by Lichfield District Council’s cabinet on Tuesday (14th February).

7 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
RFW
1 year ago

A leisure centre without a sports hall! No indoor warm badminton, tennis, basketball, netball, hockey, 5 a side, space to hire martial arts, gymnastics, etc etc.

“Approval to .develop a new leisure centre requires confidence that both the initial capital costs and ongoing revenue costs of the centre can be met.” Code for it will be loss making and will require subsidising from day 1. Wrong site and wrong offering. Loss making swimming pool. Baby white elephant.

OldEngineer
1 year ago

There’s an awful lot of talk about cost, but scant information on the technicalities. Going and looking at a part built pool in Rainham is not due diligence in my book. Who is assessing the technical bid?
I would want to know, how long have such pools been operational provided by this Company. What is the projected cost of routine maintenace? Also, how long have these pools lasted without significant maintenance of areas affected by chlorine damage to stainless steel joints and fixings. Will the pool sides be adequately insulated, and who decides what is adequate. What are the through life costs of such a pool compared to tradional ones. Remembering its the Council Tax payer who foots future bills.
Perhaps the Council could call in the services of our MP after all he’s a Chartered Engineer.
Just a few thoughts.

Griff
1 year ago

As a taxpayer, why should I have to stump up the money for this, when the reason the levelling up bid was rejected was because the form was mint filled out properly?

In any other job, a ‘mistake” that cost £10m would result in sacking. In the whirl world of LDC though, they just bill the locals.

Biggus dickus
1 year ago

Why not fund/expand burntwood along with transport links? Or improve the current friary facilities? Its guaranteed to go over-budget and take years like the friarsgate debacle, because it seems if ldc built a brewery the couldnt organise a sociable party in it.

OldEngineer
1 year ago

Did anyone with a Professional Engineering background go on the Rainham Jolly (sorry fact finding trip)?
I might have gone for free just for the lunch etc, ha ha! No point taking my cossie though as the place isn’t finished yet. All sounds a bit like what can we get that’s cheap, oh yes, a warehouse building with a water tank. I can’t stop giggling, sorry folks.

Carl Sholl
1 year ago

I would suggest the councillors visit a leisure centre that has at least been opened and is functioning rather than one that’s not built yet. That would give them more idea of how it functions. There’s one not far away in Burntwood that’s well worth a visit.

A concerned coach
1 year ago

Whoever is authorising the building of a leisure centre without a sports hall is not to be trusted, the site at Stychbrook simply isn’t big enough & would be a huge disservice to the people of Lichfield.
The city is growing exponentially yet the existing facilities are not sufficient to meet the requirements.
A greater focus needs to be placed on maximum investment in to APPROPRIATE facilities which cater for everyone’s needs.
Community facilities are at a premium & lots of organisations struggle to get full access for what they need