Possible start and finish dates revealed for building new £25m Leighton Buzzard leisure centre

Work could start on a new leisure centre for Leighton Buzzard towards the end of next summer, with completion two years later, if all goes to plan, a meeting heard.

By Euan Duncan
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 4:19 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 4:28 pm

"It's a huge investment with that £25m of capital investment," Conservative Sandy councillor Tracey Stock told Central Bedfordshire Council's Leighton-Linslade partnership committee on Thursday (April 21).

"I know it's needed," said councillor Stock, who's the executive member for health, wellbeing and communities.

"We're not seeing many local authorities making that investment into their leisure in the last couple of years."

Swimming at Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre

CBC's head of leisure Lisa White described it as "an incredibly exciting and positive new proposal for Leighton-Linslade and the wider area", saying: "We're not at the detailed design stage yet, so it's only an artist's impression for now.

Read More

Read More
The reasons ageing Tiddenfoot needs to close under plans for new £25million Leig...

"A leisure centre of this scale has about a 20-minute drive catchment for the range of facilities people are looking for. The key issue for any new centre is improvements to the swimming pool provision.

"There's a need for an increase in health and fitness offer through the gym facility, flexible studios to allow for community uses and even parties, and the sports hall.

"For the scale of the town and the development plan, the strategy suggested a four-court sports hall is required. There's currently £25m in the council's medium-term financial plan specifically for this project.

"The current site is very constrained. It's a functioning school with all the issues and concerns which come with that, and is effectively too small to extend.

"We looked at a range of sites around the town and further afield. The site on the Clipstone Park development is the only viable and available one in the wider area.

"We're working on moving the delivery of this leisure centre up the agenda and do it quicker," she explained.

"If the project goes ahead, you'll effectively have an indoor and outdoor sporting hub with a range of facilities in close proximity serving the town and the wider area."

Project and fundraising manager for leisure and libraries, Kim Owens, said: "We're looking at increased water provision with an eight-lane community pool.

"There would be a leaner pool alongside and a splash pool, providing flexibility and extra provision for more swimming classes and other water activities.

A similar seating set-up to Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre is envisaged with around a 100-seat capacity, she added.

"It's not a competition pool. The spectator seating is there for charity and community swim events.

"The current six-court sports hall at Cedars Upper School will continue to be used."

A consultation report is due to be taken to the executive in the autumn for approval and permission to proceed with the project.

"Subject to that decision, we plan to submit a planning application shortly afterwards," said Ms White.

"If all that goes well we'd be looking at starting works on site in late summer 2023, with completion late summer 2025."

Town councillor Clive Palmer said: "My only worry is the future of Tiddenfoot. I'm hearing people say the idea is to sell it off and build houses on it. That will go down like a lead balloon."

Mr White replied: "The future of Tiddenfoot will be considered at later date. There's absolutely no intention to build housing on it."

Independent Linslade CBC and town councillor Victoria Harvey called it "an exciting piece of work, which could be brilliant", but criticised the lack of sustainable transport links.