George Campbell Leisure Centre - four options to take the centre from the 1960s into 21st century

Cllr Michelle Tanfield at the George Campbell centre. Cllr Michelle Tanfield at the George Campbell centre.

Friday, August 8, 2014
5:26 PM

George Campbell Leisure Centre is being given a massive make over but the ruling Conservative group on Fenland Council has already dismissed the most expensive option.

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Four options will be considered by the cabinet next week against a backdrop of a private meeting of councillors which insisted the council can only agree lower value improvements.

Councillor Michelle Tanfield, portfolio holder for leisure and children and young people, said: “Whatever option we choose we need to make sure we are getting best value for our money.

“If we had billions it would be fantastic but we don’t so we need to put the four ideas to everybody so that everyone has a chance to have their say on what we do at the George Campbell.”

Three ideas retained a modernised pool but a fourth option involves building a new leisure centre next to the library but with no swimming pool.

George Campbell Leisure Centre. March.  Picture: Steve Williams.George Campbell Leisure Centre. March. Picture: Steve Williams.

The four options range in price from nearly £500,000 to £1.65million.

Phil Hughes, head of leisure, will tell cabinet “there has been no significant investment” in the George Campbell for a number of years; it also lacks the modern gym and fitness class studios of the other Fenland leisure centres.

He says: “In addition the swimming changing areas are outdated and in a poor state of repair.”

He told the Cambs Times that the pool is expensive to run and operates below capacity.

George Campbell Leisure Centre. March.Phil Hughes, Head of Leisure services at the spot where new changing rooms could be built. Picture: Steve Williams.George Campbell Leisure Centre. March.Phil Hughes, Head of Leisure services at the spot where new changing rooms could be built. Picture: Steve Williams.

“The staff does a good job working with the facilities we have,” he said.

“We’ve upgraded over time but facilities do not match those in the other towns.”

His report says that if councillors choose to keep the swimming pool then the changing rooms will be given a facelift.

One option is to refurbish them while two other options are to create village style changing rooms like those at the Hudson in Wisbech.

In all three options which keep swimming, the pool will be given a new roof and pool liner replacement, new boilers and new tiles in the pool and on the poolside.

In the three options that involve upgrading the current building, the gym stations will be increased from 33 to 50 by building an extension at the front of the gym area with a higher roof and large glass panels.

This was granted planning permission last week along with an extension at the back of the pool within a courtyard area.

The report says: “There has been no significant investment since the pool was covered in 1984. This has led to a facility that requires improvements to modernise the offer, improve maintenance levels and reduce energy costs.”

Fenland has spent £3.8million at the Manor Leisure Centre in Whittlesey, The Hudson and Chatteris Leisure Centre which have led to the tills ringing with extra customers.

The pay back has been a rise in direct debit income of £105,120 a year at the Hudson and £50,000 a year at the Manor.

At the George Campbell, direct debit income is £69,600 lower a year than the Manor and £135,120 a year lower than the Hudson.

Options:

Option One - cost £489,457

A 50 station gym which will be extended out from the current gym onto the grass area with a higher roof and natural light

Purpose built studio for fitness classes

Make-over changing rooms with new suspended ceiling, new lights, ventilations, new heating, replacing damaged lockers, new showers, decoration

Option One A - cost £549,001 (tender cost of £765,691 minus a grant of £216,690 from Sport England)

A 50 station gym which will be extended out onto the grass area with a higher roof and natural light

Purpose built studio for fitness classes

Replace the swimming pool changing rooms with a completely new village style changing facility

Refurbishment works

Option Two - cost £1.65m

A 50 station gym which will be extended out onto the grass area with a higher roof and natural light

Purpose built studio for fitness classes

Keep the current pool hall and replace the rest of the facility with a new building

Replace changing rooms with a village style facility along with group changing rooms for school or gala use

Separate new gym and fitness class changing rooms

Improved entrance hall and new modern reception

Potential area for soft play and catering

Option Three - cost £1.2m

Close the pool and build a new leisure centre next to the library - similar to that at Chatteris

50 station gym

Purpose built studio for fitness classes

Improved entrance hall allowing for soft play and catering

4 comments

  • I pay for my membership by direct debit & mainly attend for swimming so if the pool were to go they would lose my money straight away. I agree the facilities need improving but maybe they should also consider adding more sessions - currently the latest you can swim is 9.30pm. I realise there would be extra costs if extending hours but maybe they would get more people to attend if the hours were more flexible. Also on Saturday & Sundays you can only swim by private hire from 4-6pm & then they close. I wonder how much is raised by these sessions? Anything?

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    lincslass

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Please wake up, the council wishes to replace the swimming pool at March with a fast food joint!!!!. Do not believe the figures handed out by the council, they are a misrepresentation of the true position (lies damn lies and statistics). Now is a chance for fenland to have a true leisure pool with water slides etc. far more likely to attract people to the pool than a cheap bowl of chips! Might fit Fenland Councils health and leisure objective a bit better as well. When this is complete they would do well to hand the centres and the annual funding back to their respective town councils so that local people make decisions about local facilities. P.S. have they really only increased sales by £150000 for an investment of £3.5 million

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    madswimmer

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Surely doing away with swimming is no-go. Mind you we could save money by ignoring the leisure centre and transferring the swimming back to the twenty foot.

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    Kasmarch

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • The option of closing the pool is a step backwards! I think the best way forward is to improve it in stages, get the changing village and new gym in place as has been agreed, then reline and retile the pool area and make the boiler etc more efficient. Then maybe add more facilities such as a toddler pool or play areas to generate more cash to help fund it all

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    mypointofview

    Friday, August 8, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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