Indoor Leisure Facilities - Draft Strategy & Action Plan

Ended on the 17th January 2021
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(2) 4.0 Action Plan and Delivery

The action plan recommendations are categorised under the headings of 'Protect', 'Enhance' and 'Provide', as recommended by Sport England in the ANOG guidance.

These categories are not mutually exclusive and some options may sit within 'Enhance' and 'Provide' for example.

4 Action Plan and Delivery

A description of each heading is:

Protect

  • To protect and maintain existing sports facilities for sport and physical activity where the needs assessment has identified a current and future need. To protect the overall balance of facilities where the needs assessment has identified a continuing need. The options analysis for swimming pools and sports halls includes replacement of existing facilities. This is based on the needs assessment identifying a better facility mix and/or location to meet demand in the future.
  • To protect, and secure the community use of sport facilities on education sites and to do so in a cohesive approach with a co-ordinated approach to access and use.

Enhance

  • To upgrade and enhance existing sports facilities for community use, so as to ensure that sports facility needs are met by the provision of appropriate, high quality facilities in the future.
  • To manage and programme facilities effectively and sustainably across sites and promote partnership working to enable greater use of existing sports facilities.
  • To improve accessibility to sports facilities, in order to encourage greater participation by all sectors of the community.

Provide

  • To provide facilities where, based on the needs assessment, there is a gap in the existing supply and/or a demand which exists now and which is projected to be sustained and possibly increase.

The suggested recommendations for delivery of the strategy and what could be done under each of these headings are set out in Table 4.1 below.

This adopts the project, enhance and provide headings and provides a short commentary on the justification. The Central Bedfordshire quadrant is identified for each recommended action, along with the timescale for initiating the action, lead organisation with partners and importance ranking , with SP for swimming pools, SH sports halls, NT netball, IT indoor tennis, IB indoor bowling, SQ squash courts, ST studios and HF health and fitness.

The last part of section 4 describes investment and funding.


Action Plans

(3) Swimming Pools

PROTECT

Recommended Action

Recommendation Protect SW 1

Protect all existing swimming pools sites in line with Paragraph 96 and 97 of the NPPF February 2019

Justification

Across all providers, there are 10 swimming pools located at 8 sites in Central Bedfordshire, 4 sites in Chiltern Vale, 2 in Ivel Valley and 1 each in Leighton Buzzard and West Mid Beds.

The Central Bedfordshire demand for swimming pools exceeds supply in 2018 by 862 sq metres of water. Retention of the existing swimming pool sites is needed to meet the projected demand for swimming by Central Bedfordshire residents over the strategy period.

CB Quadrant and Location

Central Bedfordshire and all quadrants

Timescale

Over the strategy period

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC

Importance

High


PROTECT

Recommended Action

Recommendation Protect SW 2

Investigate the feasibility of retaining Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre swimming pool as part of a community asset transfer or other arrangement


Justification

The evidence base assessment does not support retention of Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre swimming but does support replacement with a new public leisure centre swimming pool located in the East Leighton Growth area (recommendation provide SW 2).

However, consideration should be given to the retention of the Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre pool as a community asset transfer to either the school or a consortium of local swimming clubs and provide for swimming development and local schools use.

This opportunity, need and viability will be assessed through a feasibility study for the provision of a new leisure centre in Leighton Linslade.

CB Quadrant and Location

Leighton Linslade quadrant and Leighton Linslade location

Timescale

Feasibility study 2020/21

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC, Cedars Upper School, Central Bedfordshire Swimming Clubs

Importance

High


PROTECT

Recommended Action

Recommendation Protect SW 3

Swimming pools on education swimming pools can provide for community use and learn to swim programmes and their future should be protected

Justification

Ardley Hill Academy Dunstable has a 20m x 9m swimming pool (1969 and modernised in 2009). It can provide a useful education and community swimming role.

As part of the strategy delivery it will be important to monitor the continuing role this pool serves and its future, given the age of the pool site.

CB Quadrant and Location

Chiltern Vale quadrant Dunstable location

Timescale

Over the strategy period

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC and Ardley Hill Academy

Importance

Low


ENHANCE

Recommended Action

Recommendation Enhance SW4

Continue to invest in new, and modernise the existing public leisure centre swimming pool stock.

Justification

The average age of the public leisure centre swimming pool sites in 2018 is 30 years. Provision of a further 2 new leisure centre sites, in addition to Flitwick Leisure Centre, in the timescales set out, will reduce the average age to 12 years.

In addition, the Council has completed a very extensive modernisation of Dunstable Leisure Centre. Plus completed a modernisation of the Saxon Leisure Centre changing areas and replaced the gala seating.

Over the strategy period the Council will have invested in creating a modern fit for purpose stock of public leisure centre swimming pools.

The enhance requirement is to continue investment to keep the stock fit for purpose and able to adapt to changes in swimming activities, such as more water space for learn to swim.

CB Quadrant and Location

Central Bedfordshire and all quadrants

Timescale

Over the strategy period

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC and Stevenage Leisure

Importance

Medium


PROVIDE

Recommended Action

Recommendation Provide SW 5

To provide new public leisure centre swimming pool sites in Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard

Justification

The evidence base assessment supports (1) the provision of a replacement swimming pool for Houghton Regis on the site of the existing venue. The recommendation included is to provide a new public leisure centres with a 25m x 8 lane main pool and a 17m x 10m teaching/learner pool.

The evidence base assessment also supports (2) the provision of a replacement swimming pool for the Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre swimming pool site in Leighton Linslade with 25m x 13m 6 lane main pool and a teaching learner pool of 17m x 10m located in the East Leighton growth area.

Both projects are integral to meeting the projected demand for swimming and its distribution in these two quadrants over the strategy period.

CB Quadrant and Location

Chiltern Vale quadrant and Houghton Regis location (1)

Chiltern Vale quadrant and East Leighton location

Timescale

Detailed feasibility study 2020/21. Delivery 2023/24

(2) Detailed feasibility study 2020/21. Delivery 2023/24

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC, Sport England, Swim England

Importance

High


Sports Halls

PROTECT

Recommended Action

Recommendation Protect SH 1

Protect all existing sports hall sites in line with Paragraph 96 and 97 of the NPPF February 2019

Justification

The assessment includes all main sports halls of 3 badminton court size or larger, and which are available for community use.

In 2018 the Central Bedfordshire demand for sports halls, is for 81 badminton courts. Total demand increases to 89 badminton courts, over the strategy period based on the increase in demand for sports halls from the population increase.

In 2018 there 24 individual sports halls located on 16 sports hall sites in Central Bedfordshire which meet the inclusion criteria and provide a total of 92 badminton courts. However some of this supply is on education sites and its availability is subject to the policy of each school/college for community use and the type/hours of access and this changes.

So the available supply does change and it is important to keep a regular review of the demand for sports halls and the supply/access to education venues as well as the public leisure centre supply.

CB Quadrant and Location

Central Bedfordshire and all quadrants

Timescale

Throughout the strategy

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC

Importance

High


PROTECT

Recommended Action

Recommendation Protect SH2

Retain Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre sports hall and transfer to Cedars Upper School

Justification

The sports hall at the Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre needs to be retained after completion of a new sports hall in East Leighton. It is recommended for return to Cedars Upper School for their curriculum use. This recommendation is however linked to the future of the whole Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre site (Swimming Pools recommendation SW 2).

CB Quadrant and Location

Leighton Linslade quadrant and Leighton Buzzard location

Timescale

2020/21

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC

Importance

High


ENHANCE

Recommended Action

Recommendation Enhance SH 3

Continue to modernise the existing sports halls stock

Justification

The average age of the 16 sports hall sites across Central Bedfordshire in 2018 is 33 years. The average age of the public leisure centre sports halls is 23 years but this will be reduced significantly with the sports hall projects in Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard.

The sports hall do provide a high quality offer for indoor hall sports, as 50% of the main sports halls are 4 badminton court size. This size of hall can accommodate all indoor hall sports at the community level of participation.

Of the 11 sports hall sites that opened before 2000, 9 have been modernised, the unmodernised sports halls are Linslade School (1960) and Manshead Church of England Upper School (1998). So, there is a good track record of modernising the sports hall stock.

There will be a need to continue the modernisation of sports halls, especially at the education venues, with improvements to changing accommodation, the sports hall flooring and lighting. Pressure on school budgets and likely demands for other and higher education priorities, will mean maintaining the quality of education sports halls will be challenging.

CB Quadrant and Location

Central Bedfordshire and all quadrants

Timescale

Throughout the strategy

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC

Importance

High


PROVIDE

Recommended Action

Recommendation Provide SH4

Provide new public leisure centre sports halls in Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard.

Justification

The evidence base assessment supports (1) the provision of a replacement sports hall for Houghton Regis on the site of the existing venue and as part of a new public leisure centre. The recommendation in is to provide a new sports hall of 6 badminton court size sports hall.

The evidence base assessment also supports the provision of a 4 badminton court size sports hall in the Leighton Buzzard quadrant located in the East Leighton growth area to replace the existing sports hall.

Both projects are integral to meeting the projected demand for hall sports and its distribution in these two quadrants over the strategy period.

CB Quadrant and Location

Chiltern Vale quadrant and Houghton Regis location

Leighton Buzzard quadrant and East Leighton location

Timescale

Detailed feasibility study 2020/21. Delivery 2022/23

Detailed feasibility study 2020/21. Delivery 2022/23

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC, Sport England, Swim England

CBC, Sport England and national governing bodies for hall sports

Importance

High


PROVIDE

Recommended Action

Potential Recommendation Provide SH 5

Consider the need for indoor sports space in areas with a smaller population (Shefford and Cranfield).

Justification

The choice of wording for the potential recommendation of indoor sports space and not sports hall is deliberate. There are areas of Central Bedfordshire like Shefford and Cranfield, which are on the periphery of the drive time catchment area of sports hall venues in CB centres, North Herts and Milton Keynes.

These areas do not have enough demand to support provision of a 4 badminton court size sports hall. In the case of Shefford it would also duplicate provision at the Robert Bloomfield Academy, where there is a 4 badminton court sports hall and a smaller activity hall. The school wants to develop further community use for sport, especially netball indoors.

This also leaves consideration of developing smaller scale facilities, along the lines of the Silsoe Sports Community Centre (the title is significant), defined by the needs of these areas, not replication of the Silsoe Centre content.

The demand in Shefford and Cranfield could support a similar type of centre, although inclusion of a sports hall would not be encouraged. These is scope to re-define the Silsoe content and make provision for dance and exercise classes, yoga, pilates and also potentially be a space for community events if this facility is not already provided in existing community / village halls.

This centre could also include a small gym with fixed cardio vascular equipment and a free weights area for strength and conditioning.

Consideration of the supply and demand of facilities in the specific areas would be essential to determine if such facilities could be financially viable, deliverable and sustainable. The strategy could consider this option through a detailed feasibility study.

CB Quadrant and Location

Chiltern Vale

Timescale

Detailed feasibility study 2022/23. Delivery 2023/24

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC and the Town Councils in each area

Importance

Medium


PROVIDE

Recommended Action

Recommendation Provide SH 6

Provide a 4 badminton court sports hall in Sandy.

Justification

The evidence base assessment does support provision of a 4 badminton court size sports hall located in Sandy town; either the hall at the current location in Sandy Upper School, or at another site.

There is sporting critical mass to justify one 4 court hall at this location which will support a sporting hub, as there is the all-weather athletic track, artificial grass and natural grass pitches, plus indoor studio space within the school and Jenkins pavilion.

Retention and expansion of this sporting hub is most important and the strategy will develop both options based on which one maximises access for community use.

CB Quadrant and Location

Ivel Valley

Timescale

Feasibility study 2022/23. Delivery 2023/24

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC

Importance

Medium


Netball

PROTECT

Recommended Action

Recommendation NT 1

Protect the limited supply of sports halls available for netball

Justification

Netball participation in Central Bedfordshire is increasing, there are 3 main leagues: Bedford & District Netball League, with 71 senior teams and over 30 junior teams. The Heritage Netball League has 35 senior teams and this includes Hertfordshire. The Dunstable District Netball League has 23 senior teams and 4 back to netball sessions.

Netball has traditionally been played on outdoor all-weather courts but the governing body has promoted more court time in sports halls.

England Netball's view is there is a need to provide more sports hall time for netball to support netball programmes, for example the 'Back Into' programmes and Walking Netball. These programmes provide for girls and women who are not regular participants and a sports hall is a better venue than outside courts to promote participation.

So, establishing netball as a core sport for sports halls, provides stability for use of sports hall, and with real potential to increase netball participation.

Increasing sports and physical activity participation by girls and women is a key priority for Central Bedfordshire Council.

Central Bedfordshire has 12 sports halls which are four badminton court size (50% of the total supply). This is the size of venue required for local netball league play and community participation. Each quadrant does have at least one sports hall of this size.

Netball requires a sports hall to be available weekday winter evenings between 6pm - 9pm for both league play and community participation. The sport requires all of a 4 court hall to play netball. The sport competes with other sports in the same peak times for court time.

CB Quadrant and Location

Central Bedfordshire and all four quadrants

Timescale

Over the strategy period

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC and England Netball

Importance

Medium


ENHANCE

Recommended Action

Recommendation NT 2

Investigate the development of a netball centre located at the Samuel Whitbread Academy in Shefford

Justification

There is the opportunity to develop a netball centre at the Samuel Whitbread Academy in Shefford.

Samuel Whitbread Academy has a 4-court sports hall, which is marked for netball and 8-outdoor courts. Restrictions under the PFI contract means access and use of the site is limited.

Saracens Mavericks the region's Vitality Super League team have partnered with the Samuel Whitbread Academy to organise coach development opportunities as part of their youth player development programme here. Shefford Netball Club also use the Robert Bloomfield Academy.

If the sports hall and outdoor courts would be available with a committed programme of use, England Netball would consider hosting further activity at the venue such as Back 2 Netball Programmes, Walking Netball and the new U11 Bee programme with clubs and schools.

The Heritage league whose teams come from the East side of Central Bedfordshire and North Hertfordshire, has 33 participating teams in its Winter League.

CB Quadrant and Location

Ivel Valley quadrant and Shefford location

Timescale

Feasibility study 2021/22

Lead Organisation and Partners

Central Bedfordshire Council, England Netball and Samuel Whitbread Academy

Importance

Medium


PROVIDE

Recommended Action

Recommendation NT 3

Investigate the development of a netball centre located at The Van Dyke Academy in Leighton Buzzard.

Justification

There is the opportunity to develop a netball centre at the Van Dyke Academy in Leighton Buzzard.

The school are planning re-provision of its existing outdoor netball courts on a new part of the site. At present they have 3 outdoor netball courts and would like the local netball clubs to secure the funding for a 4th court. The school would then like to floodlight the courts, in order to increase access and extend the playing time.

The school itself is growing and will be having an additional 300-400 students in the coming years, increasing from the current 1200 students. There is also a large junior and senior netball club based at the school which is also increasing its membership.

CB Quadrant and Location

Leighton Linslade quadrant and Leighton Buzzard location

Timescale

Feasibility study 2021/22

Lead Organisation and Partners

Central Bedfordshire Council, England Netball and the Van Dyke Academy

Importance

Medium


(1) Indoor Tennis

PROVIDE

Recommended Action

Potential Recommendation IT 1

Investigate the feasibility of an indoor tennis centre project. Located in one of Flitwick/Ampthill, Dunstable/Luton or Biggleswade.

Justification

There are no indoor tennis centres located in Central Bedfordshire. Seven of the neighbouring local authorities to Central Bedfordshire have indoor tennis centres, the exception being South Cambridgeshire.

In total there are 9 indoor tennis centres with a total of 42 indoor courts. The largest centre is the Milton Keynes David Lloyd Club, which has 3 individual tennis centres, with 3 acrylic courts 2 artificial grass courts and 13 textile courts (as part of a temporary bubble).

The evidence base assessment has identified a demand for provision for 3 indoor courts, based on the Active People data for Central Bedfordshire and the Lawn Tennis Association measure of, 1 indoor court equating to 200 players.

This scale of provision does equate to the provision in the neighbouring local authorities, apart from in Milton Keynes.

The LTA indoor tennis strategy, June 2019, identified target locations for indoor tennis centres. This is prioritised according to, the number of potential players in each area, demographic profiles for the population for each area, current tennis development and scope to broaden the participation base of the game.

The LTA strategy identified two potential locations within Central Bedfordshire: Luton/Dunstable (ranked number 20); and Biggleswade (ranked number 66) out of 72 locations throughout England.

Within Central Bedfordshire Flitwick and Ampthill Tennis Club, has 8 outdoor all-weather courts of which 4 are floodlit. The club is looking to expand and possibly relocate to expand and improve its facilities.

To create viability for an indoor tennis centre, an option is to develop with an existing and well-established outdoor tennis club so as to provide critical mass and build on the knowledge of managing tennis facilities.

The strategy will investigate with the LTA the feasibility to provide an indoor tennis centre as part of the Flitwick and Ampthill Tennis Club or the viability of a new location within the Dunstable/Luton or Biggleswade priority areas as identified by the LTA.

CB Quadrant and Location

West Mid Beds and Flitwick, Ampthill

Chiltern Vale and Dunstable

Ivel Valley and Biggleswade

Timescale

Feasibility study 2022/23

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC, LTA, Flitwick and Ampthill Tennis Club

Importance

Medium


Indoor Bowling

ENHANCE

Recommended Action

Recommendation IB 1

Keep a watching brief on the provision of indoor bowling centres in neighbouring local authorities and the opportunities for Central Bedfordshire residents to participate.

Justification

The extensive 2016 Central Bedfordshire indoor bowling study has been reviewed and updated.

Dunstable Leisure Centre before modernisation included a 6 rink indoor bowling hall. In the re-development for the refurbished leisure centre/library, the Council considered the re-provision of a permanent indoor bowls green. However, the requirement to accommodate the library service made this difficult and the financial implications of constructing a bowls green and the forecasted usage/income, together led to the decision to exclude the indoor bowls hall.

The Council sought to explore options to mitigate the impact of this closure on the current Dunstable clubs. They supported bowlers to participate at the centres closest to Dunstable, in effect the Luton indoor bowling centre. There are other centres in Harpenden Watford, Bletchley, Bedford and Stevenage. However realistically, only the Luton centre is within the 20 minute drive time catchment area of the Dunstable centre. It is recognised It is recognised the location of the other centres and the travel time to them very much limit the indoor bowling opportunities for Central Bedfordshire residents.

Population increases in the indoor bowling population main age group is being offset by declining rates of participation. Just over 1% of men aged 60 - 74 participate in indoor bowling and less than 1% for females.

Overall there is enough capacity at the Luton and other centres to absorb the Dunstable bowlers and other Central Bedfordshire residents who wish to bowl.

The change since 2016, is that the Luton centre has a new short-term lease until 2022 but its long-term future is not assured. Closure of this centre would remove any indoor bowling provision in the Luton/Chiltern Vale area.

CB Quadrant and Location

Central Bedfordshire and Chiltern Vale

Timescale

2022/23

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC, England Indoor Bowling Association

Importance

Low


(1) Squash

PROTECT

Recommended Action

Recommendation SQ 1

Protect the supply of squash court venues, especially those at public leisure centres to meet the demand for pay and play squash. However also review trend in squash participation over the strategy period

Justification

There are 22 squash courts located at 10 venues within Central Bedfordshire in 2019. There are 5 courts in Biggleswade 4 courts in each of Flitwick and Houghton Regis/Dunstable, 3 courts in Shefford and 2 courts in each of Sandy, and Leighton Buzzard. The two the MoD venues are only available for private use.

The highest provision is at Biggleswade Rugby and Squash Club, which has 4 courts. There are 7 glass back courts and 15 normal courts.

Six of the venues are owned by Central Bedfordshire Council and have a total of 12 courts, 4 glass backed and 8 normal courts, this represents 54% of the total supply. Access to the local authority courts is for pay and play.

The overall assessment is that for pay and play, there is a good distribution of courts at centres across Central Bedfordshire. Supply is meeting demand and there is no need for further provision.

CB Quadrant and Location

Central Bedfordshire and all quadrants

Timescale

Over the strategy period

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC and squash clubs

Importance

Medium


ENHANCE

Recommended Action

Potential Recommendation SQ 2

Explore the enhancement of squash provision at Biggleswade Rugby and Squash Club to provide a squash development centre

Justification

England Squash consider Central Bedfordshire an important area for squash because of the demographics and retention of participation. The Governing Body is trying to stimulate squash participation and development and the Biggleswade Rugby and Squash Club, which has 4 courts, provides an opportunity.

To deliver team squash a 3 court venue is required plus junior coaching and local junior competitions that form the first level of the England Squash Talent pathway, a 4-court centre can host school regional events.

The Biggleswade club organises internal leagues, a range of club competitions, and participates in the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire squash leagues.

The opportunity is to investigate with the Biggleswade club and England Squash the need, content and viability for a squash regional events and development centre.

CB Quadrant and Location

Central Bedfordshire and Ivel Valley

Timescale

2022/23

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC, Biggleswade Squash and Rugby Club and England Squash

Importance

Medium


Studios

PROTECT

Recommended Action

Recommendation ST 1

Protect the existing supply of studios at public leisure centres but adapt the supply to meet the changing demand for different activities.

Justification

The provision of studios is driven by demand and changes in the types of activities - this is dynamic. It will be important to adapt to this change and protect but adapt the studio supply to meet demand.

Studios provide for dance/exercise classes, yoga pilates and increasingly there are dedicated studios for activities such as kick bowing or spinning.

There are 26 individual studios located within Central Bedfordshire, with 8 studios at the Central Bedfordshire leisure centre sites (31% of the total supply), 10 studios at school/college/higher education sites (38% of the total supply) and 8 studios at commercial sites (31% of the total supply).

As studios serve a variety of purposes, there is no one source of data that defines or collects participation "in studios".

The average age of the studios, for which there is an opening date is 16 years. The most recent studios to open are located at Etonbury Academy/The Pendleton Centre, opened in 2018.

Most studios opened in the 2000 decade, with 8 studios and 6 studios have opened post 2010.

As studios, provide for 10 or more different types of activities that change frequently, then assesses future demand is challenging.

This is compounded by the emergence of specialist studios which provide for one activity - immersive studios - which is a fixed cycling workout in a digitally created world and which is developed/promoted by brands, e.g. Les Mills UK. So a particular type of dedicated studio for one activity.

The challenge is knowing if this type of provision is temporary, or, if it is the start of a long-term trend and the need for a dedicated type of studios.

CB Quadrant and Location

Central Bedfordshire and all quadrants

Timescale

Over the strategy period

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC

Importance

High


PROVIDE

Recommended Action

Recommendation ST 2

Provide studios as part of the new leisure centre projects at Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard

Justification

Given the justification under protect, and in terms of new leisure centre projects, the strategy will review the profile and performance of studios at the other Central Bedfordshire leisure centres - over time.

The demographic profile of participation, the frequency of participation and the frequency of change in the different types of studio activities. Plus, any changes in the supply of studios by other providers in the same catchment area.

This knowledge will be used to inform the scale and type of studio provision in the feasibility study and overall business case for studios in the new leisure centres.

CB Quadrant and Location

Chiltern Vale quadrant and Houghton Regis location

Leighton Buzzard quadrant and East Leighton location

Timescale

Detailed feasibility study 2020/21. Delivery 2022/23 (2)

Detailed feasibility study 2020/21. Delivery 2022/23

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC

Importance

High


Health and Fitness

PROTECT

Recommended Action

Recommendation H and F 1

Protect the existing supply of health and fitness at public leisure centres and adapt the supply to meet the changing demand for different activities.

Justification

In 2019 there were 20 health and fitness centres, (known as gyms) located at 20 sites in Central Bedfordshire. They provide a total of 1,012 health and fitness stations, an average of 50 stations per venue.

The public leisure centre sites have a total of 437 stations, 43% of the total. The commercial venues have a total of 447 stations, 44.1% of the total supply. The largest commercial gym is DW Sports Fitness in Dunstable with 150 stations.

There 5 commercial gyms which are not national gym chains but small scale independent gyms, with an average of 27 stations per venue. There are 3 gyms located at schools/colleges and these have a total of 79 stations.

Of note is that no new commercial gyms have opened since 2013. The most recent gyms to open are Flitwick Leisure Centre (2016) Dunstable Leisure Centre (2018) and The Pendleton Centre (2018).

Overall, all of Central Bedfordshire is inside the 20 minute drive time of a health and fitness centre. In Chiltern Vale, West Mid Beds and Leighton Linslade quadrants, residents have access to at least 5 centres and in the Ivel Valley quadrant there is access to 2 - 3 centres.

CB Quadrant and Location

Central Bedfordshire and all quadrants

Timescale

Over the strategy period

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC

Importance

High


PROVIDE

Recommended Action

Potential Recommendation H and F 2

Provide gyms as part of the new leisure centre projects at Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard and Sandy.

Consider gyms as part of any feasibility assessments for smaller facilities in Shefford and Cranfield.

Justification

It is very clear gym provision will be integral to the development of new indoor leisure centres at Leighton Buzzard, Houghton Regis, Sandy and for any smaller facilities considered for settlements such as Shefford and Cranfield. This is from both a need created by participation and demand and as an integral part of the business case for these projects.

The challenge is assessing the future demand for gyms and participation levels across Central Bedfordshire and over the strategy period.

For example, indoor cycling five years ago was part of the fixed cardio vascular equipment in gyms. Then it became an activity in itself with the growth in provision of spinning studios, now it has advanced again with immersive cycling studios.

So is there is a case for saying indoor cycling is now a particular type of activity and the provision is separate from gyms and as a dedicated studio? Will this evolution stop/change again/decline in popularity?

The demographic profile for gym participation is quite settled, the more challenging part, is defining over a long term period what the type of gym provision will be - and based on what commercial strategy?

For all these justifications, the scale and type of gym provision for all the projects has to be determined at the detailed feasibility stage for each project.

This will be based on participation trends, trends in the type of gym provision, commercial judgements on changes in gym providers and the viability and business case for each individual project.

CB Quadrant and Location

Chiltern Vale quadrant and Houghton Regis location

Leighton Buzzard quadrant and East Leighton location

Ivel Valley quadrant - Sandy, Shefford

Timescale

Detailed feasibility study 2020/21. Delivery 2022/23 (2)

Detailed feasibility study 2020/21. Delivery 2022/23

Detailed feasibility study 2022/23. Delivery 2023/24

Lead Organisation and Partners

CBC

Importance

High

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