Building a new city centre swimming pool is the first step in Bradford Council’s plans to invest £41 million to create modern and sustainable sports facilities for the district.
The new facilities will better meet the needs of Bradford’s residents. They will address a current shortfall in provision, be accessible to the greatest number of people and offer much better value than the existing pools they will replace.
Over a 25 year period the new pools are forecast to cost £17m less than the pools they will replace.
Several of the Council’s pools are outdated, poorly located to meet the needs of the district’s residents and have a massive maintenance backlog.
The proposal to invest in new facilities will address all of these issues and ensure that more than 95% of Bradford’s population will be within a twenty-minute drive of a swimming pool.
Coun Andrew Thornton, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Sport, said: “As well as being more accessible, the proposed new facilities would be cheaper to maintain and run. Having modern and fit-for-purpose sporting facilities is important for enhancing the health and wellbeing of our local communities.
“We are keen to build new modern facilities for the Bradford District that local people can enjoy using to become fitter and more active. The existing facilities that will be replaced are insufficient to our needs, unsustainable and unaffordable.
“The proposed investment also supports regeneration. Building new facilities will create jobs and benefit the local economy. Together with City Park and the Westfield development, a new sport and leisure complex within the city centre increases footfall, adding to a developing retail, leisure and culture mix.”
The new facilities will reconfigure provision and replace the current Richard Dunn Sports Centre (RSDC), Bowling, Queensbury and Bingley pools. These older facilities have a backlog maintenance liability of £7.7m.
It is proposed to dispose of the RSDC, Bingley, Bowling, Queensbury and Bingley sites as the new pools are built. The capital receipts from the sale of these sites will contribute towards the cost of building the new facilities.
A site in Nelson Street has been acquired for the city centre pool. The other proposed sites for new facilities are: Squire Lane for North Bradford, Sedburgh playing fields for South Bradford and Asa Briggs Recreation Ground for South West Bradford.
Consultations on the proposal to invest in new facilities took place during the Autumn of 2014. In the consultation, 94% of people said that the Council should invest in its sport facilities and more than two-thirds of respondents agreed with the proposals to build four new facilities to replace the ageing ones.
It is recommended in the Executive report that the Council starts a phased programme of investment in sports facilities starting with the delivery of a new city centre facility and a new community pool in South Bradford. This will allow the subsequent disposal of the Richard Dunn Sports Centre and Bowling Pool sites.