- Meeting of Services Overview Committee, Wednesday, 13th June, 2018 6.30 pm (Item 51.)
To update members on the evolving feasibility study to re-provide a combined community and leisure facility in Amersham serving the whole of Chiltern District, and to seek agreement to submit a planning application for the King George V Road/Chiltern Avenue site. Resources Overview Committee Members are invited to attend for this item.
David McHendry (KKP) and Justin Oâ€™Brien (Space and Place) gave a presentation on Chiltern Lifestyle Centre. They gave two different presentations; the first presentation was on the RIBA Stage 2 Concept Design which showed plans of each floor of the new lifestyle centre including pictures of the main areas. The second presentation outlined the business plan and the options available. The presentations confirmed the preferred approach to develop a single facility incorporating a range of leisure activities and a spa alongside the community facilities to enable income generation to be able to repay a loan,, funded via the Public Works Loan Board over a 40 to 45 year period and enabling development. The presentation is on the website.
The current facility mix detailed in the first presentation included an eight lane 25m swimming pool with associated spectator seating, dive facility/teaching pool, childrenâ€™s splash pad, changing village, 170 station fitness studio, 2/3 x dance studios, hot yoga studio, 2x squash courts, community hall and meeting rooms, library and spa facility with treatment rooms. Accommodation had also been included to support the Linfield Nursery and Gatehouse Disability Club which currently operated from the Youth Club. Increased parking was provided as a result of the reorientation of the centre, together with the use of the council office car park.
The second presentation went through the business plan and the following points were made:-
- Prices and salaries inflated by 2% annually to 2022.
- Review of other costs to reflect the passing of time.
- Over 1,300 attendees on swimming lessons each week.
- 4,400 Health and Fitness members.
- Over 100 group fitness classes per week.
- In excess of 800,000 users of the facility per annum
- Over 100,000 visits to the adventure play facility.
- Increased time available for public swimming.
- Increased time available for swimming and diving clubs enabling both to accommodate more participants.
- Over 250 hours per week of instructed activity across the facility.
- Â£332k of utilities costs sufficient to cover the costs for the whole building; all other costs will be the responsibility of each tenant.
The Consultants went through Option 1 which was based on a more commercial approach to pricing in order to understand the potential financial benefit, taking into account the Councilâ€™s investment in a high quality facility. In Year 3 this option should produce Â£5 million of income. The total scheme would cost Â£34 million..
- Current Â£200k subsidy needs to be invested in the new facility
- Applying current pricing would generate Â£1.25m benefit to the Council giving a 32 million borrowing capacity
- Applying a more commercial approach to pricing would generate Â£1.475m benefit to the Council giving a Â£38 million borrowing capacity
- Leisure management contractor needs to be confident that this level of income can be achieved. It was proposed that the income risk would transfer to the operator as they would be asked to guarantee a minimum payment to the Council under the terms of the operator contract.
- If only 3,500 health and fitness memberships are achieved this has a Â£250k negative impact on the financial benefit to the Councilâ€¦â€¦and would reduce borrowing capacity from Â£38m to Â£32m.
- Doing nothing would increase the current Â£200k contract subsidy to at least Â£700k with no marked improvement to the facility for customers.
- Â£400k surplus income generated by Chalfont & Chesham was not included in the figures as this was required for investment in those facilities.
During discussion Members had the following points clarified:-
Â· Comparable research was undertaken on similar income generation projects in other areas in particular Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre in St Albans.
Â· In terms of confidence in obtaining the right level of income generation the consultants confirmed that this would be achieved with the right procurement.
Â· Reference was made to community events, particularly the Amersham Music Festival, and whether the new community centre would be big enough for this event. In response it was noted that there were 150 seats but it could easily fit over 200 and still comply with health and safety. The stage could also be taken down to provide more seats.
Â· A Member made reference to an old leisure magazine which featured the Chalfont Leisure Centre which had been innovative for its time and received a national award. It had been an excellent investment and they looked forward to the development of this new project, which was also innovative. The consultants commented that they had aimed to cover activities for all.
Â· A comment was made of the need to emphasis â€˜placeâ€™ which this proposal provided and would be a great asset to the community.
Â· The cost of Â£500,000 was for a feasibility study of the development opportunities offered by the release of the existing leisure and community sites - not all of the funding may be used but having this funding available would mean that no further Member decisions would be required
Â· Members acknowledged that Chiltern Pools had an operational life and that if no new facility was built there would need to be significant expenditure on the structure of the current building.
In response to a question on affordable housing, the Head of Healthy Communities reported that there had been changes to the recommendations in the report as follows:-
Recommendation 1-3 as per original report
4. To delegate authority to the
Director of Services, to undertake a feasibility study of the development
opportunities offered by the release of the existing leisure and community
sites (the existing site) and subject to an outline business case, to
an outline planning application for that site at the
appropriate time. made in tandem with
the detailed planning application for the proposed Leisure and community
- Recommendation 5 as per original report
6. To authorise the Head of
Healthy Communities, in consultation with the Support Services Portfolio Holder
to draw down up to Â£500,000 of funding from Council reserves
Affordable Housing Reserve to enable an outline business case, and outline
planning application of the existing leisure and community sites (the
existing site) King George V and Chiltern Avenue site to be
- Recommendations 7-8 as per original report
Members welcomed the report and noted that the next steps would be to proceed with a planning application and contractor procurement.
RECOMMENDED to Cabinet
1. that the findings of the current version of the design proposals and business plan to re-provide a combined community and leisure facility in Amersham be noted.
2 that the facility mix incorporated in the current design proposals and detailed in Appendix 1 of the report be agreed .
3 that the decision to submit a detailed planning application for the proposed leisure and community centre be delegated to the Director of Services.
4 that authority be delegated to the Director of Services, to undertake a feasibility study of the development opportunities offered by the release of the existing leisure and community sites (the existing site) and subject to an outline business case, to submit a planning application for that site at the appropriate time.
5. that authority be delegated to the Head of Environment and Head of Legal to carry out due diligence to identify and take steps to address any legal constraints for the proposed leisure and community centre project.
6.that the Head of Healthy Communities be authorised, in consultation with the Support Services Portfolio Holder to draw down up to Â£500,000 of funding from the Council Reserves to enable an outline business case, and planning application of the existing leisure and community sites (the existing site) to be determined.
7. that the Director of Services be authorised to agree the maintenance
arrangements for the land to be transferred to Amersham Town Council.
8. that the Director of Services be authorised to agree the provision of replacement outdoor leisure facilities to be managed and owned by Amersham Town Council following the transfer of the section of King George V Playing Fields to be developed to the District Council.