Posted: Wed 18th Nov 2020

Redevelopment of Deeside Leisure Centre not related to use as coronavirus field hospital, says council chief

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Nov 18th, 2020

Long term plans to redevelop a leisure centre are not related to its current use as a coronavirus field hospital, Flintshire Council’s chief executive has said.

Last week, it was revealed that options were being considered for the future of Deeside Leisure Centre in Queensferry, which is currently serving as one of three rainbow hospitals in North Wales to aid the fight against Covid-19.

A tender notice issued by operators Freedom Leisure shows the near 50-year-old building could be replaced by a new, smaller facility due to its ageing condition.

It led to concerns within the community that the leisure centre would not reopen once the pandemic ends.

However, the local authority’s most senior paid official has clarified that leisure services will restart at the council-owned site once Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board vacates it.

Colin Everett said the regeneration plans would come further down the line and had been in the pipeline since before the emergency situation began.

Speaking at a virtual cabinet meeting held today (Tuesday, 17 November), he said: “We were planning this well over a year ago because it is coming up to 50 years (since it was built), it’s uneconomic in size and very energy inefficient.

“Although it provides a brilliant facility for what it does, it’s beyond its sell by date.

“We were going to commission this anyway and we are looking at how we could use that site better because there’s a lot of unused land across it.

“It could possibly be a public service site, which could include health and wellbeing facilities beyond sport, and could possibly be used for some other public sector partners including ourselves.

“We’ve got a really amazing regeneration opportunity for Queensferry right up to Connah’s Quay and this could be part of it.”

The notice on the Sell2Wales website shows the amenities which could be brought to the area include a GP practice, public transport hub, higher education establishment or council offices.

Consultants are being sought to draw up a masterplan for the facility, although they will be unable to visit it due to its current use.

Although it was not required during the first wave of the virus, the field hospital recently opened its doors to patients amid high infection rates in the area.

The council has already approached the Welsh Goverment for financial support to reinstate leisure services at the centre once it’s no longer required, which Mr Everett said he hoped could be as soon as next summer.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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