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Green light for Peterborough's new £38m Regional Pool facility

A new £38m Regional Pool facility will be built on Pleasure Fair Meadows after Peterborough City Council Cabinet gave the go-ahead this week.
Regional Pool
New regional pool in Peterborough given go ahead after original Pool is 'no longer wholly fit for purpose' (photo: Terry Harris)

The current Regional Pool was built in 1976, and is reaching the end of its effective operational life as a leisure centre. 

The new facility would be an 8-lane, 25m pool with 300 spectator seats, teaching pools, sauna facilities, toddler and splash areas as well a gym, yoga studio, sports hall and café. 

Speaking to the members of the Cabinet at their online meeting, on November 30, Cllr Steve Allen said: “When the existing regional pool opened in 1976, it marked the beginning of a new era of leisure facilities in Peterborough and has been a great asset helping with health and wellbeing for more than forty years. 

“But times have moved on; the city has grown and changed, and so too has the public expectation of what it wants from a leisure facility. 

“Simply put – the regional pool does not meet current demands or standards, as it would require considerable investment simply to keep it open over the next decade. 

“The council is therefore faced with a choice: do we continue to invest in an ageing facility, with only a short-term future, or, do we take the opportunity to invest for the city’s long-term future? 

“The conclusion from Sports and Leisure Consultants is clear: best value would be achieved by making an immediate investment, rather than sinking funds into an old, inefficient and sub-optimal facility.” 

Steve Cox, Executive Director, Place and Economy, said: “The development of a new facility on Pleasure Fair Meadows offers an opportunity to replace the Regional Pool in a timely fashion with a modern, fit for purpose centre that will help to meet identified user needs. 

“It’s more cost effective to invest in new facilities now rather than sink costs in existing facilities that will need replacing in the medium term. 

“The relative strengths of each of the options and it is clear from this that as a city centre location, the Pleasure Fair Meadows Car Park is the best option. P.I.P (Pleasure Fairs) Limited owns the freehold of Pleasure Fair Meadows site which is zoned for development including leisure related uses. 

“The site was leased back to the Council for the continued use of the land as a car park for a term of 5 years which expires on November 24, 2020.” 

Cllr Irene Walsh asked: “Is this now the time to be looking at ways of working with partners to provide a new hydro-therapy pool?” 

Cllr Allen replied: “I’m very supportive of a hydro-therapy facility and I can confirm that we’re looking at whether we should invest in the current location, look at alternative locations or work with partners, as you suggest, to create a hydro-therapy scheme as part of this project – but we need to know the full financial implications.” 

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald said: “There was a lot of pressure put on the CCG by this council to fund hydro-therapy services – so it's not for the want of trying by the council and pressure by others put on the CCG that we don’t have these. 

“I believe they should reconsider their position for what is wholly a health issue, with the benefits of hydro-therapy totally health-related, and not leisure-related.” 

Cabinet members unanimously approved of the recommendation to develop the new Regional Pool facility.