£25million leisure centre for Leighton Buzzard a step closer as highways concerns resolved

An artist's impression of the new leisure centre. Image: DB3 Architects.An artist's impression of the new leisure centre. Image: DB3 Architects.
An artist's impression of the new leisure centre. Image: DB3 Architects.
Plans are due to be considered by council committee tomorrow

A local authority has withdrawn its highways concerns about plans for a new £25m leisure centre in Leighton Buzzard.

Leighton Linslade Town Council has no objection to the proposed facility in the east of the town after changes were made to it by applicant Central Bedfordshire Council.

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The project off Briggington Way at Clipstone Park is due to be considered by CBC’s development management committee tomorrow (Wednesday, January 10).

Recommended for approval by planning officers, 40 full-time and 45 part-time jobs are expected to be created at the leisure centre.

It was revealed last month that the scheme would be delayed for a year because of the applicant’s current financial challenges.

The development includes an eight-lane 25m community swimming pool, a learner pool, a confidence pool, a fitness suite, and exercise and spin studios. Other features a cafe, a community space, a creche, two squash courts and outdoor changing facilities.

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A report to the committee said: “The proposed scheme would be within the settlement of Leighton Buzzard and would provide a brand new high quality leisure facility within a sustainable location.

“While the application wouldn’t include a sports hall, it’s considered there are material considerations and public benefits which outweigh deviating from the recommendation to provide one within the adopted leisure strategy.

“The impact to residential amenity, the character of the area and the wider landscape is considered to be acceptable, subject to appropriate conditions.

“The site is within the Clipstone Park housing allocation, as part of the east of Leighton Buzzard urban extension.

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“It’s located off the Leighton Buzzard eastern link road on part of the land allocated for a school and sports pitch provision on the outline permission.”

Along with wet and dry changing areas, there would be outdoor changing rooms for the neighbouring sports pitches, according to the report.

Parking and cycle storage is proposed with disabled bays and EV charging, as well as a turning area for coaches and a drop-off point for minibuses,” added the report.

“The proposal also includes extra landscaping, solar panels and air source heat pumps, while there would be permission for the access road and traffic light junction off Briggington Way.

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“Following amendments to the scheme to address highway circulation, the town council has no objection to the scheme.”

Although welcoming the leisure centre, town councillors had warned previously that highways, transport and sustainability issues needed to be addressed first.

Independent Aspley and Woburn councillor John Baker and executive member for finance told CBC’s executive last month: “Leighton Buzzard leisure centre has been pushed back by one year purely down to the financial circumstances which we inherited.”

And Independent Potton councillor and leader of CBC Adam Zerny confirmed: “The leisure centre is a long way down the line. It’s almost fully funded, although the costs will increase. We’ve already paid for the design stage.

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“This council remains committed to that (project). Exactly when it happens comes back to the funding.”

CBC’s development management committee is due to decide whether to approve or refuse the proposals at tomorrow’s meeting.