Posted: Thu 12th Nov 2020

‘Ageing’ Deeside Leisure Centre could be replaced by new, smaller facility, council briefing reveals

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Nov 12th, 2020

A leisure centre in Flintshire could be replaced by a new, smaller facility after concerns were raised over its ageing condition.

Deeside Leisure Centre in Queensferry is the county’s largest leisure facility at 5,000 square metres and home to one of only two ice rinks in Wales.

However, the near 50-year-old building is said to have reached the end of its working life, according to owners Flintshire Council.

The site is currently being used as a field hospital to aid the fight against Covid-19 in the north east of Wales.

Once the emergency situation is over, the local authority intends to work alongside the centre’s operators Aura Leisure to explore options for its future.

Consultants are being sought to draw up a masterplan for the site, which could result in a new health, fitness and well-being hub being created on a smaller footprint.

A tender notice published on the Sell2Wales website shows other amenities could also be brought to the area, such as a GP practice, public transport hub, higher education establishment or council offices.

It states: “Aura’s and the council’s vision is to redevelop the whole site including the leisure centre to provide a sustainable long term solution for a large site, strategically placed.

“Both partners are seeking a masterplan proposal which will make a significant and lasting contribution to the regeneration of the Deeside area.

“The new development should represent a statement of intent on behalf of future generations and create amongst Deeside residents a sense of pride in the area in which they live and work.

“Aura and the council are seeking a thoroughly modern development solution; one which looks at flexible forms of commercial and community provision, particularly in relation to partnerships, co-location and wider service integration.”

It adds: “In light of the facility’s condition and the potential legacy from its current repurposing, Aura’s and the council’s aspiration is to agree a masterplan proposal for a site of strategic importance to both parties.

“This will incorporate a modern, flexible, fit for purpose, energy efficient and sustainable health, fitness and well-being hub built for the future.”

A separate document for interested parties shows the leisure centre is currently off limits due to its use as a rainbow hospital.

Although it was not required during the first wave of the virus, Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board decided to open it from the start of this week to create additional capacity due to high infection rates in the area.

A total of 30 beds will be used to care for patients recovering from Covid-19 who need ongoing care.

The authority has approached the Welsh Goverment for financial support to reinstate facilities at the leisure centre once it’s no longer required, which the council estimated could be by March 2021.

It said the new building should be adaptable in the event of a further crisis.

The report states: “In light of the current occupation of Deeside Leisure Centre by the health board, the proposed new hub should consider the flexible use of internal spaces and ensure they have the capacity to adapt to alternative temporary uses at relatively short notice without enforcing the permanent removal of an established and popular feature.

“This approach will help ‘future proof’ internal facilities whilst providing the council with a responsive emergency planning venue.”

It also highlights the need for renewable energy sources to be incorporated into the new facility to meet the Welsh Government’s aim of cutting carbon emissions.

The council has allocated a budget of between £20,000 to £30,000 for the appraisal report with consultants given until the end of this month to bid for the contract.

A final report is expected to be produced by March next year.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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