EHDC tax cut funds sports centres

EHDC bucks national trend with council tax cut and announces it will build two new leisure centres

East Hampshire District Council is not only bucking the national trend by cutting its council tax by 2.6% but it will also build two new leisure centres and refurbish a third.

New leisure centres will be built in Alton and in Whitehill & Bordon and money invested in the Taro Leisure Centre in Petersfield after a deal signed between East Hampshire District Council and a new sports and leisure provider.

East Hampshire District Council and Sports and Leisure Management, known as Everyone Active, will invest £29.5m into two new centres and an extensive redevelopment of the existing facilities in Petersfield.

Cllr Richard Millard, EHDC Deputy Leader, said: “This is the news that so many people in East Hampshire have been longing for.

“We can look forward to two brand new top quality leisure centres and improved facilities across the district, all to be delivered within the next two years.

“And the commercial elements written into the contract will ensure that these facilities will not only offer fantastic sporting opportunities but, over the lifetime of the contract, will generate profits that the council will invest in improved services provision at no cost to the Council Tax payer.

“Thanks to Everyone Active’s commitment to improve local participation in sport we will not only be providing residents with opportunities to live a healthier lifestyle at state-of-the-art facilities but will aim to provide the motivation too.

“Places for People Leisure has provided excellent work over the last two decades and that has been really appreciated. I now look forward to starting this exciting new journey with Everyone Active.”

David Love, Everyone Active’s Contract Manager, said: “This is a very exciting time for East Hampshire, with a wide range of new and improved leisure facilities coming to the area.

“We look forward to becoming a part of the local community and encouraging more people to improve their health and wellbeing through activity.”

The work to redevelop the Taro Centre in Petersfield will begin this year while the two new centres will be built simultaneously in 2019.

The 20-year contract, agreed at EHDC’s Full Council meeting on 23 February, will see Everyone Active run all three facilities on a day-to-day basis.

The agreement will begin once EHDC’s current contract, with Places for People Leisure, expires on 31 March 2017.

The new facility at Alton will be built on the current site, next to the existing centre which will continue to be used while the new facility is under construction. It will include a six lane 25m pool, a six-court sports hall, two fitness studios, squash courts and a gym. It will also provide significant commercial investment in a destination spa, a climbing wall and a soft play area.

The new facility at Whitehill & Bordon will move from Mill Chase Academy to the new centre of town and will feature a six lane 25-metre pool, two fitness studios, a learner pool and a gym.

The investment in the Taro Leisure Centre will expand the health and fitness facilities there, improve the reception area, redevelop the fitness studio and refurbish the changing rooms.

As well as bringing the infrastructure up to a high standard Everyone Active will also be working hard to increase participation in sport across the district and will be working with EHDC to deliver a community outreach programme.