£25m leisure centre set for Leighton Buzzard as Tiddenfoot 'no longer fit for purpose'

A new, £25m leisure centre is on the cards for Leighton Buzzard and Central Bedfordshire Council is inviting residents to have their say.

By Jo Robinson
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 5:35 pm
Updated Friday, 29th April 2022, 1:14 pm

The proposed building, described as "modern and exciting" will include three new swimming pools, a large gym, two multi-use studios, squash courts and more, and is set to be located in Clipstone Park housing development, on the east of town.

Meanwhile, the community's current leisure centre, Tiddenfoot, has been described as "no longer fit for purpose" but will stay open until the new hub is complete.

Councillor Tracey Stock, executive member for Health, Wellbeing & Communities, said: “We continue to invest significantly in new sports and leisure facilities across Central Bedfordshire as part of our commitment to provide communities with access to modern, high-quality leisure facilities.

A sketch of the new centre.

“The current leisure facility in Leighton-Linslade is outdated and no longer fit for purpose so we plan to build a superb, new £25million centre. We hope the proposals, which feature a range of impressive activities in a wonderful new setting, excite residents as we strive to provide enhanced health and wellbeing options."

In detail, the new centre will include: three new swimming pools - an eight-lane 25 metre community swimming pool complete with 100 spectator seats, a learner pool with a moveable floor to alter the depth for lessons and other activities, and a separate shallow pool, known as a ‘confidence water’; a large 150 station fitness suite (gym), two multi-use studios for various exercise classes and activities; a dedicated group cycle studio; two squash courts; a creche and café; two changing places facilities; and access to walking and cycling routes linking to the new and existing communities and the nearby 'informal' open space.

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A CBC spokeswoman added: "It will benefit from a landscaped setting and outdoor sports pitches which are being provided by the new housing developments; as well as a large car park and a bus stop providing good access for residents and leisure centre users."

Three in-person events and one online engagement event will enable people to meet the project team and look at the plans. They will take place on the following dates and times:

- May 14 (10am – 3pm) – Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre

- May 17 (10am – 2pm) – Leighton Buzzard Market

- June 21 (6pm- 7.30pm) - Online Teams meeting

- July 2 (10am – 3pm) – Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre

All the engagement sessions are drop-in, except for the online Teams meeting.

People interested in attending need to email [email protected] to book a place.

People can comment online by going to www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations or request a paper copy of the consultation information and questionnaire by emailing [email protected] or calling 0300 300 8301. Paper copies are also available at Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre.

Subject to planning approval, the construction of the new leisure centre will start in 2023 and is likely to open in summer 2025.

Tiddenfoot will stay open until the new centre is complete. A Community Use Agreement with Cedars School will ensure the community can continue to use the current sports hall and squash courts, which will be run by the school.

More information on the consultation, including FAQs, can be found on the council’s website.

The consultation is open for 12 weeks until Friday, July 22.