In 2013 East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) appointed SLC to provide a detailed understanding of the options to the Council for the refurbishment or replacement of Alton Sports Centre.
This was the first project to be taken forward from the Council’s leisure built facilities strategy, which highlighted addressing the future of Alton Sports Centre as a priority, in line with the corporate strategy. EHDC wanted to keep the current centre (built in the early 1970s with an anticipated lifespan of 25 years) open until any replacement, whether by refurbishment or new build, was in place.
The Council owned the land on which the current centre stands, but did not own a suitable alternative site for a replacement centre. SLC were tasked with assessing the viability of a number of sites in Alton, including the centre’s existing location.
Refurbish or replace?
SLC was also instructed to assess the options for refurbishment or replacement of the centre using the existing facility mix and those listed in the leisure built facility strategy as a guide. Their brief was to ensure the potential of the centre could be maximised in the future as trends and demands for activities changed. Full consideration was given to accessibility, including the availability of unisex changing facilities.
Some of the key considerations that SLC undertook was the commercial value of land packages and potential mixed use of sites to support viability.
Following detailed needs analysis and supply/demand analysis, SLC developed a set of facility options on each site and developed these into high-level designs (RIBA Stage 2) for costing and massing analysis.
Following the options analysis, SLC developed detailed business plans and whole-life costings to support the options review of sites.
Throughout this project SLC undertook significant consultation with members and key stakeholders to clarify the process of the study and key decision points. This required an element of independent challenge to the Council.
A new facility for Alton
SLC delivered its report and key recommendations in late 2013. The replacement of Alton Sports Centre achieved planning permission in 2015. A completely new leisure centre is to be built next to the old centre, which will remain open while the new facility is built.
The new building, to be completed during 2019, will incorporate a range of modern facilities, including a six-lane 25m indoor pool and a learner pool with movable floor, a large fitness suite, studios, a sports hall and new external 3G pitches.
Additional facilities, including two glass-backed squash courts with spectator viewing, a climbing centre and children’s soft play zone.
A distinctive spa will be created which will include a range of treatment rooms, sauna, steam, hydro pool and relaxation areas.
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