Stafford Borough Council has said that the proposed new leisure centre in Stone has been given the thumbs up by members of the public
The on-line and on-site consultation gathered feedback on the Westbridge Park proposal. Over 90% of those who took part in the consultation said they would use the new facilities.
The centre will house a six lane 25 metre swimming pool alongside gym and fitness studios. Just under 80% said that it was important, or very important, to have these facilities under one roof.
The Stafford borough-council run swimming pool in Stone is currently based at Alleyne’s Academy and is used by the school under a shared agreement with the local authority. Under the proposal the sports facilities at the ‘Academy’ will still be part of the community leisure offer.
Members of the development team were on hand to speak about the designs with residents and gym users at the current Westbridge Park Fitness Centre and an online questionnaire also allowed members of the public to give their feedback.
The plans are part of an almost £10 million investment in the town’s leisure facilities but many have drawn concerns over what’s on offer. The plans don’t cater for a child friendly training pool and due to the size of the site there isn’t going to be any sports hall facilities.
Stafford Borough Council are expected to submit a planning application for the new centre later this month. They have also confirmed that they will be taking on board feedback from the consultation before the final proposals are drawn up.
In total more than 200 people had their say – with the overall impression of the scheme proving very popular as was the plans for two hours free parking. Stone Town Council and other key stakeholders were also consulted on the plans.
The Borough Council have also said that later in the summer they will be collecting views of residents and organisations on plans for a multi-use games area, skate-park and new play facilities as part of the leisure offer for Stone. Unfortunately this is a breakaway from the original proposal which meant that the scheme as a whole would be considered and developed. We now have the real possibility that due to the new Guide HQ and the other development work there will be less or no space to provide everything that was originally set out.
Richard Lawrence, Head of Economic Development and Planning at the Borough Council, said people would get another chance to comment on the plans when the planning application was submitted.
“We want to provide a new leisure centre that can bring swimming, a gym and fitness studios under one roof, so it is good to see that the vast majority of people who took part in this consultation see this as important.
“We are now looking at the feedback from the questionnaires to help us put forward a final design which residents and businesses will have the chance to consider before it goes before the planning committee to make a decision.”