Council seeks views over leisure facilities and being active
Monday, 12 October 2020
We are consulting residents, businesses and organisations over its draft leisure facilities and physical activity strategies.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services said:
We all know that being active every day is important for everyone, at every age. It’s essential for overall health, cuts down the risks associated with excess weight, diabetes, and heart disease and has a positive effect on other conditions including mental health. Being active is not just about sport and gym sessions it takes in things as diverse as gardening, housework and country walks. We want every member of our community to have the opportunity to take part in a way they choose, making physical activity part of everyday life. To do that we need to know what types of activity people took part in before and after lockdown and what barriers stop them being active.
We also need to know what changes and where and when we need to make them to our leisure centres so they maintain and enhance their role as community hubs. Our aim is to ensure they are flexible spaces which can react to changing needs and support people with both exercise and less formal physical activities. They have a vital role to play in helping people maintain their physical and mental health, and build resistance to, and recover from, COVID-19. We are also planning for future housing growth and so we need to ensure our indoor leisure centre facilities keep pace with growing demand. The draft leisure facilities strategy details how and where we need centres to meet residents’ needs, in line with our Local Plan.
Based on the facilities assessment work we have identified the need to replace both Houghton Regis and Leighton-Linslade leisure centres.
The evidence has also shown that Biggleswade needs additional exercise studios and an enlarged sports hall.
Sandy’s gym equipment has recently been replaced, but an enlarged gym is still required, along with new exercise studios; and demand in the Shefford area shows a need for a gym and exercise space.
The evidence confirms the need to ensure that as new schools are built, their sports halls should include community access out of school hours.