Sheringham Splash could be knocked down and rebuilt as part of an ambitious project to improve leisure provision in the district.
North Norfolk District Council is looking at how to improve the facitlies, with the preferred option to demolish the ageing building and construct an improved swimming pool, gym and associated facilities.
The council has taken an imaginative approach to the project in consultation with strategic property partners Gleeds. The proposed plan, which is in early discussion stages, could see an £8m facility built by using a combination of long term loans, Sport England funding and income from additional development on land next to Splash. This development could include a hotel and/or retail/commercial units.
Initial details of the proposed plan are being made public this week in papers to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which will meet on May 17. The papers will also discuss the early stages of the procurement process for the Council’s leisure contract which is due for renewal by March 31, 2019, covering Fakenham Sports and Fitness, Splash Leisure and Fitness in Sheringham, and Victory Swim and Fitness Centre in North Walsham. The three Council-owned leisure centres are all very successful, with visits in 2016/17 totalling 462,000 and this has continually risen over the past four years.
Among the recommendations, which will then be put to the Council’s Cabinet in June, will be that a feasibility study around the property and leisure issues is now progressed with a further report coming to Cabinet later in 2017, to then approve the business case for construction of a new facility at the Splash site in Sheringham.
Other options include a full refurbishment of the current Splash building, although the papers make it clear that demolition and rebuild would be more cost effective because of the need to completely modernise the council’s sport and leisure offer at the Sheringham site. This would not be achieved in the current building, which is environmentally inefficient, and would prevent the opportunity for the new leisure contract to provide the necessary savings to help fund the new facility.
The plans have been designed to guarantee ongoing provision of the popular skateboard, football and cricket facilities on the current and adjacent sites.
Judy Oliver, North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Property, said: “This is a highly imaginative and inspirational plan which has the potential to secure a long term future for Splash.
“We have great aspirations for leisure services across North Norfolk and the opportunity to build a modern, efficient and fit for purpose facility in one of our premier coastal towns is very exciting.
“I welcome this plan wholeheartedly and welcome the input we have had from Sport England.”
Maggie Prior, North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “The range of leisure opportunities across North Norfolk makes a significant contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of our residents.
“We want to improve Splash and give it a long term, viable future. It already attracts 160,000 visits a year and I believe that an improved facility would see this number increase, benefiting both our residents and the tourism economy, which is so crucial to this part of the world.”
Doug Smith, North Norfolk District Council member for Sheringham North, said: “This plan will be a huge win win for Sheringham’s residents and visitors, we will work hard to make this a real success.”