Posted: 15.10.20 at 13:45 by David Lawrence - Local Democracy Reporter
Leaders at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council have backed plans to create new leisure centres in Bedworth and Nuneaton – even though the latter, known at the Pingles, is less than 20 years old.
Members of the council’s cabinet this week voted in favour of the two projects and a third new build at Top Farm to the north of Nuneaton. They agreed that the replacement of the Bedworth facilities was the priority with work starting as soon as practically possible.
Cllr Ian Lloyd (Lab, Camp Hill), the portfolio holder for arts and leisure, said: “I think it is an exciting time. This document clearly sets out the vision for this borough council and the people that were consulted.
“It is going to see a new facility in Bedworth and a new larger facility at Nuneaton. All the sporting organisations involved in the two wet centres are crying out for space. It’s also about having space for members of the public to swi at the same time as the clubs.”
But questions were raised by Cllr Keith Kondakor (Green, Weddington).
He said: “Everyone agrees that Bedworth Leisure Centre is an absolute must, it’s 40 years old. But there really must be a question to be asked about demolishing a 20-year-old swimming pool at the Pingles which should have another ten or 20 years life in it.
“It actually makes a lot of sense to stagger the rebuilding of our swimming pools because you get two bites of the cherry at getting the size right. If we wait ten years to redevelop Pingles then we’ll actually know what our population growth was and it gets ten years more use out of our asset.”
He also urged the council to give a thought to outdoor sports with park runs and youth football and rugby being so successful.
He added: “We don’t want to put all our money into buildings when all our activity can be split between indoors and out.”
Keith Hollis, the council’s sports development manager, explained why the decision to build a new centre at Nuneaton had been taken.
He said: “I took advice from Sport England who helped fund Pingles just under 20 years ago and their advice was that the most efficient and beneficial way forward would be to build new. Trying to match an old build with a new build, albeit only 20 years, can be very costly.
“By the time we get around to doing Pingles it will be several more years on – Bedworth is the number one priority.”