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Start date confirmed for construction of new £33.6 million leisure centre

13 Dec 2023 2 minute read
Artist impression of the new Caerphilly Leisure and Wellbeing Hub. Credit: Watson Batty Architects

Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter

Work on building a new £33.6 million leisure centre is expected to get underway next summer.

The new “leisure and wellbeing hub” will replace the Caerphilly’s existing sports facilities at Virginia Park, which have been deemed “dated” and “not considered viable” to keep open.

The replacement will boast a new swimming pool, “state-of-the-art” fitness facilities, a wellness centre, and an adventure play area, Chris Morgan, the cabinet member for leisure, told a committee meeting on Tuesday December 12.

The UK Government is spending £20m of Levelling-Up Fund cash on the scheme, with the council contributing the remainder from its reserves.

Shake-up

The project forms part of Caerphilly Council’s wider shake-up of its leisure services across the county borough – which also includes the controversial proposed closure of Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre – and its Caerphilly Town 2035 regeneration plan for the local area.

Project manager Mandeep Singh told councillors a public consultation on the new leisure and wellbeing hub would end in January, and feedback to date had been “quite positive”.

The team behind the scheme will draw up a final report for the council in January, and construction could start on the site – south of Van Road and west of the town’s business park – “in the summer”.

Accessible

Rima Yousef, the project architect, told the council’s housing and environment scrutiny committee she had “designed a building that is very accessible and compact”.

Councillor Charlotte Bishop asked about access for people with disabilities.

The new leisure hub would be “accessible throughout”, including changing rooms and a “pool pod” that serves as a “dignified” way of helping people get in and out of the swimming pool, Ms Yousef said.

Councillor Donna Cushing was one of several committee members who asked what would happen to the existing trees and greenery on the proposed development site.

She was told that while the area appeared “green” it was in fact a “brownfield site” which had “subsequently been filled”.

The designs for the new leisure centre also include plans for “around 120” parking spaces, bike storage, and electric vehicle charging points.

A public consultation on the new Caerphilly Leisure and Wellbeing Hub runs until January 3, 2024 and can be found online at conversation.caerphilly.gov.uk/caerphillylwbh


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